MAY 2018 | ISSUE 24
TRAVEL HAPPY WITH
3-in-1 Milk Tea Sachet
*Airport copies only
HUA HIN, THAILAND
realized when working on this May issue that I have written
and edited 23 issues of GOASIAPLUS magazine since its
debut in June 2016. Sadly, this will be my last issue as editor
and what a bittersweet journey it has been. All those solo travels
and comfy hotel beds will always be a reminder that I once had
the ‘dream job’ as a travel editor, pointed out by many people
that I’ve met during my tenure.
I put as much love in this May issue as I did in my first one.
We added some local fair by highlighting the coolest lifestyle
stores in KL. Get optimistic as we interviewed Youtuber Xandria
Ooi, where she shares her travel and happiness tips for a
I say Happy Fasting to all Muslims and may you have a
blessed Hari Raya with your loved ones. Lastly, thanks for
reading my stories, it is for you that I strive to create fun and
Till next time,
COVER PHOTO BY
GROUP HEAD & BRANDS
FRANCIS YIP & TAN JU ENG
7Road Less Traveled
8Travelling for Happiness
On The Radar
Out & About
Nasi Kandar Price
Lost & Found
AISHAH AZALI & JESSY WONG
SALES & MARKETING
YONG WANG CHING
COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP
PUBLISHCOM ASIA SDN. BHD.
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magazine, the publisher shall not be held liable for any omission, error or inaccuracy.
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WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 5
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Road Less Traveled is a collaboration with AirAsiaGo.
Check out airasiago.com.my for flight & hotel deals!
Road Less Traveled
TUCKED AWAY FROM A CROWDED CITY, THE SUMMER ROYAL
RETREAT AT PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN PROVINCE PROMISES A
TRANQUIL OASIS AND PLEASANT BEACH GETAWAY.
Hua Hin, Thailand
WORDS BY JESSY WONG • PHOTOS BY ADOBE STOCK & AIRASIAGO
HOW TO GET THERe
AirAsia is currently the only airline that flies directly
to Hua Hin from Kuala Lumpur. Check out the
Southern Bus Terminal if you are departing from
Bangkok city center as buses depart daily with
3-4 hours on road. Boarding a train will take a 4-5
hours journey from Hua Lamphong railway station.
WHAT TO DO
The Hua Hin beach is a populous choice for
watersports and beach restaurants while the
adjacent Cha-Am beach is less crowded. Nature
enthusiasts can explore Pranburi Forest Park with
mangrove trails and bird watching, river tours to
Pak Nam Pran village or rock hiking.
Other than sunbathing and sporty activities,
peep into the Thai Royal Family residence at
Maruekhathaiyawan Palace. The century-old
seaside palace built by King Rama VI is now a
museum. Buddhist temple Wat Huay Mongkol at
Khao Takiab houses the world’s largest statue of
Luang Phor Thuad, a miraculous monk.
For cultural shopping experiences, Sam Phan
Nam floating market and Plearnwan revives
Thailand’s elemental market concepts with a
GOOD TO KNOW
Go to Hua Hin Night
Market that operates
from 7-11pm daily for a
sundown shopping spree.
Muay Thai fans can catch
real fights of the traditional
sport on every Tuesday
and Saturday night at Thai
Chatchai Market is built as
a dedication to Rama VII by
Prince Purachatra Jayakara
back in 1926.
WHERE TO eat
Look forward to fresh fishing hauls at Saeng Thai
Seafood when travelling along the coastline. The
popular restaurant has plenty of local specialties
at reasonable prices. 1d+ Day Artist is a modern
campsite hip café that serves Asian fusion or
breakfast at Chatchai Market with choices of Thai
noodles, desserts and dried food at hand.
WHERE TO STAY
Seekers of an indulgent retreat can indulge in
AVANI Hua Hin Resort & Villas by the coast with
private jacuzzi or plunge pool in each villa. Close to
Hutsadin Elephant Foundation, The Bike Loft is an
excellent choice for minimalists to rest in cosiness
and style in the industrial-themed guestrooms.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 7
Travelling for Happiness
GET THE SCOOP ON HOW TO TRAVEL HAPPILY FROM
HAPPINESS GURU, XANDRIA OOI AS SHE SHARES HER
FULL PROOF WAY TO PACK WITHOUT SACRIFICING
STYLE AND HOW TO SET A POSITIVE MINDSET FOR A
HOLIDAY YOU WILL NEVER FORGET.
WORDS BY AISHAH AZALI • PHOTOS BY XANDRIA OOI
8 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Travelling for Happiness
In an era where everything can be documented
and posted on Youtube, from makeup tutorials
to video game reviews, it is refreshing to find a
channel that advocates happiness for people out
there who seek it. Motivational speaker, writer,
jet setter and all-round fashionista, Xandria Ooi
is the creator of just that, spreading optimism
and positivity in less than 3 minutes. A dose of
that and your morning coffee will get your mind
energised for the rest of the day.
Her positivity is contagious when you
are around her. It is reflected in her genuine
smile, the colour of her clothes and even the
bounciness of her bob haircut. On her Instagram
feed, you get to see Xandria’s vibrant sense of
style against city and nature backdrops during her
jaunts around the world.
Packing Like A Pro
It made me wonder about her packing routine
because fashionistas pack a lot of clothes, right?
"For packing, I just like to roll everything up.
I don't like two-pieces quite as much, I much
prefer a one piece because it’s easy and I don’t
have to think very hard when packing," she said,
addressing the many flowing dresses that she
sports frequently on her Instagram.
Xandria believes in the power of planning
when it comes to packing and heavily depends
on the weather of the destination she is going
to. Living in a warm country makes summer
travelling a breeze for her. She explained that,
“Summer is not as difficult because we’re used to
dressing in Malaysia so you’ve worn something
before and already know that the blue earrings
go with this shirt.”
Prepared and stylish as can be, Xandria
still prefers to strut in a pair of flip flops. She
has an admiration for her FitFlops, a flip flop
brand known for their comfort technology. “I
went to New York for a month and I walked
everywhere in my ugly FitFlops because they
are so comfortable.” She even thanked that same
footwear for the toned lower half of her body.
Her travels have brought Xandria to colder
climates and though she prefers summer trips, it
has not stopped her from venturing to countries
like Japan in the cold season when it snows. Her
average 3-hour ritual to pack for winter includes
organizing her clothes into full outfits for each
day. This crucially includes her Uniqlo HeatTech
inners which are a game changer to her winter
experience. "I remember the first time I went
to Japan, it was miserable and I didn't enjoy
myself. I thought I was getting the flu all the
time because I was just cold. That was before I
discovered Uniqlo HeatTech.”
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 9
Travelling for Happiness
Travel Bucket List
Xandria’s lust for travel has taken her all across
Asia, Europe and the States. She happily explained
that food is one her main reason to travel. It is no
surprise since she once hosted a food and travel
show. She has been to Japan 3 times in 2017
alone due to her love of Japanese cuisine and she
loves to go there with her family and friends.
A visit to Spain tickled her taste buds as
she discovered that the palate of the Spaniards
matched that of a Malaysian. “Everything is
flavourful in Spain whether it's cheese or salsa,
similar to Malaysian curry or laksa. Even though
it's a completely different cuisine, it gives off the
same feeling,” she said.
As for her dream vacation, she stated South
Africa as the place she would like to visit next
if she has the chance. She raves about the
possibilities of venturing into the wilderness while
still experiencing luxury accommodation
Enjoying Your Holiday
Though packing, the food and all that planning
can get overwhelming, Xandria points out how
preparing your mindset for the holiday is as
important. "You must understand that you are
travelling to a foreign land with different people
and cultures. Things can go wrong because
everything is new to you," Xandria said adding that
"When we go on a holiday, we don’t realise how
much joy can be taken away from us just by how
our mind functions when things don’t work out the
way it should.”
She advocates not getting stressed out because
you may never get the chance to go back to that
particular time and destination. Instead, absorb
it all in while you can. “Part of truly enjoying
a holiday is to live in the moment. Don’t force
yourself, even if the food is not good, there’s
always something for you to experience there.”
Vacuum pack bulky
items like your coats.
Xandria gets her
Wear thermal wear
swears by the
Do not underestimate
like a wool sock and
ear muffs, they can
keep you warm for a
10 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Travelling for Happiness
Always get a size bigger
when it comes to
purchasing boots and keep
a lookout for bargains.
Xandria got these over-theknee
ones for 70% off at
Stuart Weitzman in KLCC.
Xandria loves her Mulberry
bags with shoulder straps
that can hold all her
essentials like her earmuffs
and water bottle. She
buys her Alexa tote online
during Christmas sales for
deals up to 40% off.
Never underestimate the
cold so Xandria keeps her
ears warm with Muji’s
earmuffs made from wool
and boa fabric.
To keep herself warm yet stylish,
Xandria loves buying coats from
retailers like Zara. Her tip is to
buy online due to the different
varieties you cannot find in
stores because the items ship
directly from the HQ.
After a long day, Xandria
removes all her makeup
using the Clinique Take
The Day Off remover.
She washes her face with
the Simple facial wash that
is not harsh on her skin.
Xandria and even her mum
adores the Melaleuca Renew
hand lotion to keep skin
hydrated in cold weather.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 11
On The Radar
Transit with Comfort at klia2 Aerotel
Got a short transit in klia2 or have to catch the first early
morning flight out? Well, rest well and in comfort by
booking a room at Aerotel at level 2M, gateway@klia2.
Choose between 78 gorgeously-furnished guestrooms
for everyone from solo travellers to families. They even
have rooms that are wheelchair friendly and all guests
will receive complimentary Wifi. Room rates start from
RM298 for a 6 hour stay but enjoy 15% off all room rates
from now till 31 December 2018.
While you are there, check out the Plaza Premium
Lounge for a delectable selection of food and the bar for
some cocktails before your flight. The lounge and bar
are opened 24 hours a day with comfortable seating for
eating or doing work on your laptop.
The Rift Junior Opens
Malaysia’s largest hybrid
virtual reality (VR) adventure
center, The Rift launched a
playland for kids aged 3-6
years old. The Rift Junior is a
325 square feet space with
fun features like trampolines,
giant slides and a ball pit.
Kids from 3-6 years old can
enjoy the playland for RM38
or older ones aged 7-11
years can experience the Exit
Reality Child Package that
includes any four attractions
at The Rift for RM50.
Thailand Promotes Luxury Travel
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hosted a luncheon event to
promote the latest in luxury travel in Thailand. Opulent Thai brands
like Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Ritz Carlton Samui,
Live Life Andaman Cruising as well as La Flora Group for hotels
presented their latest offerings to attract visitors to The Land of
Smiles. So the next time you plan to fly up to Thailand, check out
some of their customised luxury experiences in popular areas like Koh
Samui and Krabi or up and coming destinations like Hua Hin.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 13
On The Radar
Ramadhan Kampung Buffet
The Living Room at The Westin Kuala Lumpur
offers their signature Juadah Iftar Kampung
Buffet for an authentic array of Malaysian
flavours for Ramadhan. Families can savour in
the main dish of Westin Biryani paired with
roasted whole lamb and some Assam Pedas
Claypot fish from 19 May till 12 June at
RM120 per person for early bird rates.
Gin O’Clock at The
Try your hand in D-I-Y mixology with an
interactive Gin Cart at Gin O’Clock happening
at The Majestic Malacca by crafting your own
cocktails with a curated collection of recipes.
Besides making a personalised drink, limelight of
the experience is their Malacca Gin with hints of
grapefruit and citrus notes for a polished treat.
Love Blooms in Häagen-Dazs
The limited-edition floral ice-cream collection reaps
from the spring season to match flavours with our
experiences. Sakura Cherry Blossom is a mix of sakura
extract from the Oshima tree with a swirl of cherry
sauce while the lavender delight is charmingly paired
with bits of blueberries for a sweet balance.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 15
On The Radar
The People’s Home at DoubleTree Resort
Here’s a good tip to follow to choose the right hotel for
your travels. “You have to know what you are looking for in
a holiday!” said Linda Giebing. And there’s little likelihood
that you will go wrong as Linda is the General Manager of
DoubleTree Resort in Malaysia.
Addressing a group on a familiarisation tour of DoubleTree’s
50th opening in the Asia Pacific region, Linda assured that the
resort pays close attention to making it a warm and pleasant
staycation for its guests.
My first encounter with this acclaimed hospitality was
when I walked into the first DoubleTree Resort to be greeted
with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie handed out to me.
The staff were attentive and assured me that I could request
for anything anytime of the day or night such as a midnight
mouthwash emergency or bathrobe replacement.
Linda said it is the resort’s way of restoring more personal
interaction in the hospitality industry which she felt was gravely
lacking. Adding to this, the resort has various attractions and
16 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
On The Radar
activities to help enhance a family’s travelling experience with
an extensive playground and the TeddyVille Museum. This is
the country’s first TeddyVille Museum, with hundreds of teddy
bears dressed in Malaysian colours and culture.
As a pioneer in family travels, the resort aims to reward
parents and their children with many fun recreations like a kidsproof
artificial beach at the pool and a water playground.
There are 316 guestrooms of every kind for every traveller
including a private shared hallway between rooms for intimacy.
The other is the cosy bed that makes me want to sleep in
through the morning.
The interior decor of the resort hints of Penang’s peranakan
heritage. Peranakan trinkets, frames and motifs deck some of
the walls and oriental furnishings unobtrusively occupy corners
of the contemporary space.
There are vibrant murals around the resort resonating with
the overall ambience of the place which reflects life on the
island that is full of colour and character. Batik and Peranakan
tiles in the guestrooms suggest the resort’s pride of being a
part of Penang.
THE PLACE FOR FOODIES
The endless choice of delicacies allows guests to savour the
diversity of Malaysia at Makan Kitchen, an alfresco restaurant
serving local specialties. The bowl of chicken congee warms the
soul in the morning as it likens to breakfast at my grandmother’s
while dinnertime welcomes an unlimited flow of spirits to match
one’s taste buds.
Taking a break at the Axis Lounge allows broad view of the
sea and undisturbed meetings at the same time munch on the
tea-infused menu in the high-tea set. For other light bites and
fresh pastries, The Food Store serves Malaysia’s favourite teh
tarik to go with it.
DoubleTree Resort is away from the bustling city center with
a waterfront beach view and fresh air at the hillside corner of
Batu Ferringhi. I was taken to the UNESCO World Heritage site
in Georgetown and resort guests can hop onto the free shuttle
to get there.
DOUBLETREE RESORT BY HILTON PENANG
56 Jalan Low Yat, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 17
Spring In Japan
WORDS BY TAN JU ENG
It’s easy to fall in love with Japan especially in the spring. It
is the best time to visit Japan as the cherry blossom is in full
bloom where the temperature hovers around 13°C in the
afternoon. This is when you would want to take your own pace
to soak in the sight and sound of the season. What makes this even
more inviting is how easy you can navigate around Japan’s systematic
and efficient public transport even for non-Japanese speaking tourist.
The Japan Rail Pass (also commonly called JR Pass) is a very cost
effective rail pass for long distance train travel in Japan. This pass,
available only to foreigners, gives unlimited use of JR trains for one,
two or three weeks. The Japan Rail Pass must be purchased before
arriving in Japan as it is not for sale inside Japan. The pass comes in
two types - ordinary and green. Green cars (first class cars) offer more
spacious seats than ordinary cars.
JR KYUSHU PASS
Japan’s second largest producer of strawberries.
The Amaou variety from Fukuoka is known for
its large size and balance between sweetness
and acidity. In spring, strawberries are in full
flavour. There are many farms near Fukuoka
strawberry picking is allowed. A recommended
farm is Strawberry Fields (Chikushino Strawberry
Farm) the largest strawberry farm in Kyushu that
is just a 5-minute taxi ride from Harada Station
and 20 minutes away from JR Hakata Station
JR CENTRAL PASS
Kumano Kodo describes a series of pilgrimage
trails through the southern Kansai region. The
Kodo (“old ways”) have been in use for over
1000 years. They are one of the two pilgrimage
routes to be designated as a world heritage site
18 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
JR HOKKAIDO PASS
The Shiraoi Ainu Museum (Ainu Minzoku
Hakubutsukan) is one of the country’s best
museums about the Ainu, the indigenous
people of northern Japan. The open air
museum, which is also commonly known as
Porotokotan (meaning large lakeside village
in the Ainu language), is a replica village
consisting of five thatched houses along the
shore of Lake Poroto.
JR EAST PASS
Hirosaki Castle is where the sensational
2,600 cherry blossom trees bloom all
around the castle grounds in springtime.
The Japanese Government have named the
castle one of the 100 best spots for cherry
blossoms in Japan. Some of the trees are
more than 300 years old. A must visit for
*For enquiries on
JR Pass fares, contact
JR SHIKOKU PASS
Dogo Onsen is the oldest hot spring resort
in Japan which is nearly 1000 years old. The
architecture of the impressive main building
is indicative of its long history. Every
morning at 6am drum beats will signify the
opening of the baths.
JR WEST PASS
Yu Nakagawa is a street-level store that
is operated by Nakagawa Masashichi
Shoten, a hemp fabric specialty store that
is established in 1716. In this tranquil store,
traditional arts and materials are used to
create products that look modern but with
a traditional feel like the Hanafukin. This
material is typical to Nara and is made of
mosquito net fabric. There are many uses
for Hanafukin, such as a tea towel, and they
come in a good variety of colours.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19
Out & About
The hottest & most anticipated events of the month in Malaysia and beyond
11-13 MAY | Borneo Jazz
The seaside city of Miri hosts its
annual international jazz festival at a new
location in Coco Cabana presenting a
melting pot for all jazz performers and
enthusiasts. Nadir and Dato’ Zainal Abidin
are among Malaysian represents that
will enchant the crowd with the talented
Cecelia Brunori from Italy.
Coco Cabana, Marina Bay, Miri, Sarawak
10-13 MAY | Dato’ Seri
An adaptation of Shakespeare’s
famous tragedy, Dato’ Seri is a locally
infused theatrical play set in the 1960’s
of Malaysia with the hero facing the
struggles of Macbeth as a warrior. The
production is shaped by father and
son duo, written by the late Tan Sri
Muhammad Ali Hashim and directed by
KLPAC, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah
25-17 MAY |
Music from Anime
Nothing beats the spectacular moment when fans get to hear their
favourite anime soundtrack live at this year’s anime concert featuring
music from Laputa: The Flying Island, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s
Moving Castle. Renowned musician, Naohisa Furusawa is the ideal
conductor from Tokyo to deliver the Japan music masterpiece.
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Petronas Twin Tower, Kuala Lumpur
26 MAY-24 JUNE |
The Smurfs Live on Stage
‘The Smurfs Save Spring’ marks the
Belgium comic debut in Malaysia, taking
us through their enchanted adventure to
save Mother Nature from Gargamel’s evil
devise. Children can sing-along with Papa
Smurf, Brainy, Smurfette and the gang
while surrounded with larger-than-life
mushroom forest houses on stage.
Genting International Showroom,
Genting Highlands, Pahang
20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Out & About
Across The Pond
2-27 MAY | Shakespeare in the
Park: Julius Caesar
Making its return this May is Guy Unsworth
directorial production of Shakespeare’s tragedy
and political play metamorphose into modernday
global affairs. The summit of 7 countries
exposes a battle between leaders of power and
ambition to finding their true allies in midst of
the sinister scheme in Caesar’s assassination.
Fort Canning Park, Singapore
15 MAY | Margaret Cho: Fresh Off the Bloat
Grammy and Emmy nominated comedian Margaret Cho
is putting forth her unpredictable comics in this tour to bring
out the problems of addiction, suicide and politics. As Margaret
puts it, “Fresh Off The Bloat” is her sickest show to date
inspired by coming alive after being found dead in the lake.
Kallang Theatre, Singapore
26-27 MAY |
World DJ Festival
Korea’s largest annual DJ festival is expecting more than
30,000 attendees to rave in the electronic music concert
with hardcore genre from Atmozfears and Wildstylez,
Kungs’ deep house and the EDM likes of Porter Robinson.
The festival is equipped with bars around the venue for
unlimited liquor for partying.
Jamsil Olympic Stadium,
7 MAY | Harry Styles:
Live on Tour
Since his solo debut in 2017 from One
Direction, Harry Styles’ self-titled first album
has been certified platinum across continents.
The ‘Sign of the Times’ singer has sold out
concerts within seconds thus extended his
shows into the second leg in Asia for more
intimate sessions with his fans.
Impact Arena, Bangkok, Thailand
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 21
KL Lifestyle Stores
Unique Finds at
AN UP-AND-COMING TREND IN URBAN LIVING
REVEALS A PALATE FOR QUAINT THINGS. BE IT
LIFESTYLE WEAR OR HOME DÉCOR, FIND THESE
KUALA LUMPUR STORES TO BE A SLICK SAVIOUR
FROM THE CONVENTIONAL.
WORDS & PHOTOS BY JESSY WONG & AISHAH AZALI
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23
KL Lifestyle Stores
Tish X Quirky by
Design A la Rose
scented organic candle
Stemmed from the frustration of
not being able to find affordable
and aesthetically appealing
homeware, Tish Lifestyle is the
brainchild of Shermaine Wong.
Lithe and stylish, she exudes
minimalist creativity as much as
the Tish showroom in the Pantai
Shermaine started out by
creating custom candles for
weddings and corporate events.
That blossomed into curating
homeware from places like
Thailand and Brazil so people here
can bring back a slice of pretty to
Rattan baskets, tasselled
throw pillows and crystal
book stoppers are some of the
sophisticated items sold by
Tish Lifestyle. Beautiful as it is
functional, it is not hard to see
these trinkets displayed in your
home’s shelves or dining table.
Shermaine even goes as far as to
collaborate with local artisans and
designers to create one-of-kind
home products from plate sets to
Her passion for candles is
evident as Tish Lifestyle also sells
their own line of organic candles
made from vegetable wax, scented
with lovely notes of florals and
fruits. Taking it to the next level,
the chic packaging of the candles
are a collaboration with local
graphic designers so every batch is
personalised and unique.
Where To GeT www.tish.my
24 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
KL Lifestyle Stores
On the ground floor of a
refurbished apartment building at
the edge of town, stands a quirky
lifestyle shop with a heavy dose of
local flair. Karipap throw pillows,
salted egg chips and funny t-shirts
with Malaysian slang are just some
of the amazing things available at
their airy and newly opened shop.
It started off in Singapore,
expanded to Malaysia through an
online store and now a physical
one has graced our city. Naiise
champions local brands from
clothes to stationaries to home
accessories from popular brands
like Apom, TinyPinc Miniatures
You can find some exclusive
products from Naiise’s ongoing
collaborations with local brands
and designers. An example is their
Wild Wild Local Weekly Planner
in collaboration with Whimsy
Whimsical featuring illustrations of
our beloved Malaysian wildlife.
Where To GeT www.naiise.com.my
Zhongshan Building, Jalan Rotan, Kampung Attap, 50460 Kuala Lumpur
from clothes to
brands like Apom
Door Mat (RM49)
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 25
KL Lifestyle Stores
• also check out •
Ceramic Tray &
Pots (From RM29)
Brewing aesthetics in urban
living is a design that founder
Eve Lim is hoping to achieve in
Ninth Gallery. Raised in Taiwan
and studied in the United States,
Eve gains inspiration from her
travels around the globe especially
from the overseas stores that
shelf eccentric gifts. Since her
business debut in May 2017, Eve’s
travel trips have been earnest in
introducing more inventive items
to her store.
Accented with a perfect
balance of gold, wood and glass
surfaces, Ninth Gallery is a larger
than life aesthetic venue with
intricate touches of deco. The
platform for refined ingenuity
has everything from lifestyle
Where To GeT www.ninthgallery.com
Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
wear, interior pieces to stationary
articles that will spruce you up.
Eve shows her enthusiasm
in stationaries with her vast
collection of pens and Japanese
pencils to bring back style in
writing. One of the pens is brassmade
from Taiwan Ystudio that is
minimalistic in design and weighty
to hold to remind the users of
their weight of words.
Latest addition to enhance
the living space is Native Union
Eclipse Charger from the United
States that keeps the charging
station clean with a touch sensor
to activate and charges up to
three gadgets at a time. The white
solid wood adds flair to the space
with cables out of sight.
Bits and Pieces
The home-decor store in
Kuala Lumpur is dedicated in
embellishing the interior with
rustic living elements from
kitchenware to wall statement
pieces for home accessorising.
Where To GeT www.bitsandpieces.com.my
50-1-2, Jalan Doraisamy, 50300
Goes by their ‘random beautiful
things’ slogan, Ilaika is a lifestyle
concept store that sells mostly local
products. The store has a café within
the venue with picnic tables among
retail counters. Find personal care
items and local fashion brands like
Shuren Project and CommiStyle.
Where To GeT
No 17, Jalan 20/13, Petaling Jaya
The place brims with mostly
vintage memorabilia like bookends
and unique wine holders beside
having a collection of antique
lighting from lanterns to candles
and table lamps.
Ficus & Jar’s
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“A LOT OF PEOPLE GAVE US A
CHANCE WHEN NOBODY ELSE
WOULD.” CO-FOUNDER AND
CEO OF D JUNGLE PEOPLE, JOHN
KAM UNVEILS HIS DEDICATION
TO HIS TEAM, HIS DISCIPLINE TO
GIVE HIS BEST, HIS DREAM OF
BECOMING A BEACH BUM AND
HOW TO THWART THE CRITICS
IN HIS WAY.
WORDS BY JESSY WONG • PHOTOS BY
JOHN KAM & TAN JU ENG
Casual and upright, he wades into the
meeting room and asks if his shirt is
alright for the session, minutes after
changing out of his company uniform.
He stretches out for a handshake and
introduces himself simply as John. John
is the CEO of one of the top consulting
companies in Asia, D Jungle People.
Their unconventional name
definitely set them apart from their
contemporaries and raising eye-brows
amongst the rest despite the initial eyesquinting
and critics. “We did consider
at a time whether our name was a bane
or a boon,” he said. But it is a jungle
out there, a concrete jungle where
battles take place to the many stages
of the unknown. Hence, as trainers in
the concrete jungle, it is perhaps a role
befitting their company name.
FINDING YOUR PASSION
As a leader, Hollywood perspectives and
conventional wisdoms are fallacies to him.
He shrugs off the ‘find your dream so you
don’t have to work a day in your life’ kind
of idea. Instead, he speaks of injecting
passion in the things we do. John admits
that he does not always know if a job is
really for him. However, if he were to take
it on, he would do it well with discipline.
He firmly believes that people are
inherently creatures of comfort and habit.
“You will never know if you will like it
until you are good at it,” he said adding
“this is not conventional and it takes
time.” Failure, for John, is never an option
especially when he knows his team
STRIVING FOR THE BEST
To run a successful company, money is
not a driving factor for John but his sense
of pride on becoming the best in the
world for himself and his team plays a
His job has taken him far and wide.
Traversing the globe from the deserts of
Qatar to the mountains in Nepal to run
training for his programmes. The company
has since transformed from bringing
people to the jungle to bringing the jungle
to the corporate people.
“With the right skill sets, careful
designing and programming, you can
bring the same kind of emotions and
experiences into another environment
that is more sanitised,” he said.
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“I whispered to them,
you either choke it down
or you are out of a job.”
John believes that everything is
fighting for survival in the jungle of reality.
“Elements that couldn’t change will go
extinct, like the dinosaurs,” he explained.
For the last 18 years, the company has
evolved from conducting various outdoor
teambuilding programmes to leadership
development before adding management
consulting to its portfolio.
Having work for top brands like
Unilever, Coca-Cola and UEM Group,
their endeavours paid off when D Jungle
People won Best Teambuilding Training
Provider in HR Vendor of the Year Awards
for 2015 with honourable mentions in the
SETTING AN EXAMPLE
To extol the virtue of his trainers is
a prime factor in maintaining their
reputation. John eagerly shared a story to
illustrate this virtue. “During a programme
in Vietnam, the client had suggested a
fear factor kind of activity. Then a basket
of ‘hot vin lon’ (Vietnamese fetal duck
egg) was offered to the trainers to eat.”
John explained that the intention was
to test the trainers if they too can face
“I had a team of trainers, young and
old to take an egg with me. If you are
lucky, you get a small embryo, but some
eggs are close to hatching. We had to
choke it down,” he laughed at the team’s
predicament, as he continued his story.
“I whispered to them, you either choke it
down or you are out of a job.”
GIVING BACK TO SOCIETY
With the Extra Step as a tagline, D
Jungle People carry that spirit by taking
the effort to make a difference by giving
back to society. They have since launched
a digital learning side www.Chalkboard.
Djunglepeople.com to give tips, advices
and quick solutions to corporate issues.
This is a platform where young executives
and managers can write in for free
consultation. Why did they decide to
launch the platform? John replied, “A lot of
people gave us a chance when nobody
“It is a virtual online platform to create
a resource library for people who can’t
afford to do training programmes. They
only need a few short key learning points
that they can apply in their daily life.”
And frankly, like most of us this CEO
has a dream too. John dreams of being a
beach bum and go wave surfing in Hawaii.
“I like surfing, not good at it but that one
wave you catch, keeps you chasing for
more,” John sums up his admirable selfmotivating
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EVERYONE IN MALAYSIA HAS THEIR OWN FAVOURITE MAMAK
PLACE FOR MIDNIGHT MEALS, CASUAL HANGOUTS AND FAST
LOCAL DISHES. WITH SO MANY BRANDS AND BRANCHES
AROUND, HAVE YOU EVER STOPPED TO COMPARE PRICES?
AISHAH AZALI INVESTIGATES.
WORDS & PHOTOS BY AISHAH AZALI
30 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
here will Malaysians be without our 24-hour
mamak? It is hard to imagine a world without
this kind of restaurant. Where will people
converge to watch football matches on huge screens
or find a decent meal to eat during an ungodly hour?
It is safe to say that the mamak restaurants are a big
part of our Malaysian food culture that I find myself
wondering why restaurants overseas close as early as
9pm in some countries?
Generally, people associate mamak food with
affordable food. I have reached a point where I don’t
look at the receipt when I ask the ‘anne’ or ‘boss’ to
calculate my bill. But this made me wonder if there is
a difference in price when it comes to our favourite
mix rice meal or ‘nasi kandar’? So, I went out on a
comparing spree just for you.
A dish served in every mamak restaurant far and wide,
nasi kandar is the quintessential meal that is made up
of rice and various side dishes. Its popularity started
from the northern parts of Malaysia with Penang
known as its birthplace.
A choice of white or briyani rice is placed on a
plate while the mamak waiter awaits your selection
of condiments to complement your meal. The choice
of side dishes can be overwhelming, from a variety of
vegetables like cabbage and ladies' fingers or okra to a
plethora of spicy Indian curries cooked with protein.
The best part about a plate of nasi kandar, in my
opinion, is the mix gravy where the waiter takes a
dollop of each curry available (can go up to 8 varieties)
to drown your rice in flavourful goodness.
I went to 3 popular mamak branches and ordered the
same mix rice meal (Nasi Kandar) for lunch.
• White rice with mix gravy
• Fried chicken
• Cabbage vegetable side dish
• Ice Milo
• Ice tea with lime
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nasi kandar pelita
Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
Nasi Kandar Pelita or just Pelita is a popular
mamak franchise and the biggest one in
Malaysia. It began in Butterworth, Penang
with multiple outlets now in states like Kedah,
Perak and Selangor. The popular branch
visited by city slickers and tourists alike is
located along Jalan Ampang and is one of the
few big mamak restaurants in the city centre.
The fried chicken I had here was definitely
the best, where the crispy exterior is packed
with spices. Plus, the portion of rice is heftier
than the other two places I patronised. The
only slightly pricey difference is that Pelita
charges for the poppadom chips that are prepacked
in a plastic bag. Serving the poppadom
this way made me received a less-crunchy
version due to its unknown time in packaging.
Mix rice total
Ice tea with lime
RM1.10 for 1 packet
kayu nasi kandar
SS2, Petaling Jaya
Mix rice total
Ice tea with lime
Another popular chain for nasi kandar is the
Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar or just
Kayu by the locals. I went to the branch in
the neighbourhood of SS2 in Petaling Jaya
and little did I know that the brand has its
roots there. The eatery started as a small stall
in SS2 before opening the spacious 2-storey
restaurant for all to enjoy.
Eating there, I preferred the curries they
served. Though the variety of curries and
gravy were messily drenched on my plate
of rice (just the way I like it), the flavours
and spiciness were just right for my palate
because I actually cannot tolerate spicy food
as strongly as a normal Malaysian. Downside
is that out of all 3 places, Kayu was definitely
the most expensive when it comes to the
meal and drinks.
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Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
I first experienced Bestari not for its nasi
kandar but an ingenious invention where they
mix indo mee with shredded beef patty. It was
a popular hangover food and is still ordered by
many till this day where the branch in Desa Sri
Hartamas still cooks the best.
This time around I went for the nasi
kandar. The variety of curries and gravy were
not as vast as the previous two restaurants
but they still serve the staples like fried
chicken and mix vegetables. The plate of rice
was good as it is, nothing explosive to shout
about but decent enough for me to want to
come back. One thing I have to highlight is
that the drinks here are hands down the best.
Their milo was dense and they did not skimp
on the lime in my tea.
Mix rice total
Ice tea with lime
Where Is Your
Everyone has their mamak restaurant
preference so we asked our readers to
share their favourite mamak spots in
Mansion Tea Stall at Masjid India,
MUST TRY: Roti banjir special
Darussalam at SS15, Subang Jaya
MUST TRY: Nasi lemak
Q Bistro at Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI)
MUST TRY: Putu mayam
Suzy’s Corner at Ampang
MUST TRY: Naan with potato chutney
Kanna Curry House at Puchong Jaya
MUST TRY: Banana leaf
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Lost & Found
Yip always loses himself but somehow, finds his way back with lots
of juicy stories to share. Forgive him if he sparks a debate. Love him if he
unlocks hidden jewels. So heavenly, so travelicious with him!
WORDS & PHOTOS BY FRANCIS YIP
My father used to take me for carousel
rides in New World Amusement
Park (Sin Seh Kai) in Penang when
I was a kid. I remember there was a cinema
with an open wall enclosure next to it. So,
every time the carousel horse lifted me up, I
could see the cinema screen from afar. It was
a unique experience to catch a glimpse into a
Shaw Brothers movie this way!
In the good old days, cinemas were built
adjacent or within the theme parks. There
were a few famous theme parks in Penang,
namely the Shaw Brothers’ New World
Amusement Park and Great World Theme
Park (Tua Seh Kai) in the 50s and 60s.
Apart from the carousel and cinema,
it was truly exciting to drive a two-seater
bumper car powered by electricity with wide
nettings. The cars were brakeless and could
easily hit one another. But no worries, no
one got hurt.
Like all other kids, I also love the pink
cotton candy and the “kacang putih” (peanuts)
wrapped in a rolled newspaper cone.
FUN PLACE FOR ADULTS
Those old theme parks were more than just
children entertainment but also a fun place
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for adults. Visitors would go on the stage to
do their “ronggeng” dance as well as joget, cha
cha and a-go-go.
Hogging the limelight was Rose Chan, a
local striptease performer who wowed the
audience with her snake wrestling act. Other
amazing performers were the strong man “Mat
Tarzan” and professional wrestler nicknamed
But soon, these old theme parks gradually
lost its glitter. People prefer to watch
home videos and go to karaoke outlets for
NEW THEME PARKS
Today, the new theme parks are more
sophisticated and specific. Movie Animation
Park Studio in Perak is the first of its kind in
Asia dedicated to the animation world, from
DreamWorks Animation to local animation
For movie theme parks, check out the
upcoming 20th Century Fox World Malaysia in
Genting Highlands with more thrills and spills
of Hollywood blockbusters like Planet of the
Apes, Titanic and Ice Age.
Apart from this outdoor theme park,
Genting Highlands also offer an indoor theme
park and Vision City Video Games Park
featuring over 400 types of entertainment
from interactive games, skill-based games,
kiddie rides and redemption games which
give rewards to winners.
Next, the multi-award winning Sunway
Lagoon features the famous large water
ride; Vuvuzela, Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon,
Wildlife Park, Scream Park, and
With more mega shopping malls, mall
operators want to provide an ideal place
for the visitors to shop, dine and have fun.
Indoor theme parks like the Berjaya Times
Square Theme Park seem to provide the
answer. Don’t be frightened by the screams
from visitors as they take an exhilarating
Another interesting theme park is
Legoland Malaysia, the first theme park
based on Lego figurines and blocks in Asia.
You can even pamper yourself with a stay at
For extreme sport fans, brave up to try
Escape Penang and defy gravity on high
rope challenges and more.
All in all, theme parks have evolved and
they are still popular today. My only regret
is that I can no longer take a carousel ride.