Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Transport between Singapore & KL

This ones for all the frequent or not so frequent travellers between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia. There are 3 options available Road, Rail & Air.. well 4th can be Sea but that is something which usually will be rare like Star Cruise and stuff:).

Coming back to 3 options. Rail is the cheapest but the longest time taking.. yeah you heard me right "longest" since the train travels from all the states of Malaysia it takes a lot of time & ideally when it should take about 8-10 hours sometimes it might take more than that. Maybe this is the reason the Rail is always at night time & one has options of booking Chaircar seat & sleeper. One can obviously guess which is the comfortable of the two. One can book the Train tickets at Tanjong Pagar Railway station in Singapore while Kuala Lumpur one can do it at KL sentral station. One can get all the related information from this link - Keratapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), www.ktmb.com.my (train times, fares, booking) Map of train routes in Southeast Asia.

Moving to option via Air - well obviously the journey by Air is to save time and its the costliest of the options available, usually preferred by business users. Both Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines offer frequent shuttle flights to and from Singapore and K.L. Tickets are on a first come first serve basis. Alternatively, you could book a seat and pay the regular price. For both Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, the one-way shuttle service from Singapore to K.L. costs S$115, whilst a booked ticket would cost S$152.
A cheaper way to fly would be to take Air Asia from Johor's Senai Airport instead. The one-way fare from J.B. and K.L. is about RM70 (roughly about S$35). Air Asia flies to many other destinations in Malaysia, like Kota Bharu (gateway to the Pulau Perhentian) and Kota Kinabalu (Borneo). Check www.airasia.com for details.

Another way to fly would be to take Malaysian Airlines from Johor's Senai Airport. The one-way fare from J.B. and K.L. is RM141. To get to the Senai airport, Malaysian Airlines has a bus service which runs from Copthorne Orchid Hotel along Dunearn Road (not far by public bus from our Hostel) to the airport. The bus fare to Senai Airport is S$12 and the bus ride is approximately 2 hours. You have to call Malaysian Airlines at 6336 6777 to book a seat on the bus. For the flight and corresponding bus schedules, check Malaysian Airlines' Singapore website at www.malaysiaairlines.com.sg. A Singapore website with airfares for various destinations from Singapore would be www.airfares.com.sg. But things depend on the time and effort required for doing things like traveling by Bus and then take flights. Well it could work well for families, where one saves quite a lot, but again depends if kids are accompanied it could be taxing for them.

Coming to Bus travel: Lot of bus companies are available for traveling to and from Singapore to Malaysia. One of the best known for timely arrivals and departures are Aeroline, Nice, Transtar, Transnasional to name a few. All these bus companies maintain websites and some of them do also give you an option for booking online at the comforts of your notebooks or desktops. Here are the website details.
http://www.plusliner.com/ - You can only the bus schedules but no e-ticketing - although in Kuala Lumpur they offer delivery service at RM 8/-.
Other than this there are popular terminals both in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur - Golden Mile complex at Beach Road(closest MRT Bugis there is also one booking agent near Novena MRT) and Pudu Raya (central location in Kuala Lumpur) respectively which have n number of companies offering bus travel for transport between KL & Singapore & other popular locations. They are economical & usually could help you get tickets for urgent or unplanned needs.
You can get some more detailed information on the following link:

Hope this is useful to have a few options for bookings.

Happy traveling....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas

In Malaysia and Singapore numerous festivals are celebrated throughout the course of the year.. This is where you will truly see multiculture at work. Christmas is round the corner and it sure can be experience by the streets & shops & even business entrances where one can see Christmas tree ornamented with golden balls & lovely lights.

Although malaysia has majorly Muslim community everyone participates for the christmas and it is a time for shopping & having lovely time during this time. Usually people look at visiting their home towns out of KL. Singapore has the biggest shocase around Orchard Road, unless of course Vivocity shall outdo the decorations here.

I still remember while i was in india, we use to go to our aunt's place who was from mum's school and a good friend & have sweets and have a lovely time at their place eating and having fun. Well I am sure my kid will soon start asking me what is christmas and why do people celebrate. Here is what Christmas all about...

Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. Christmas festivities often combine the commemoration of Jesus' birth with various secular customs, many of which have been influenced by earlier winter festivals. In most places around the world, Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25. Christmas Eve is the preceding day, December 24.

The word Christmas originated as a contraction of "Christ's mass". In early Greek versions of the New Testament, the letter Χ (chi), is the first letter of Christ. Since the mid-16th century Χ, or the similar Roman letter X, was used as an abbreviation for Christ.[2] Hence, "Xmas" is often used as an abbreviation for Christmas.

Modern traditions have come to include the display of Nativity scenes, Holly and Christmas trees, the exchange of gifts and cards, and the arrival of Father Christmas or Santa Claus on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Popular Christmas themes include the promotion of goodwill and peace.

So lets pray to god for the same & pray that our children get a better place to live on this wonderful place we call Earth, and work towards making a better world.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Going on Drive....

After long time of about 6 + years... I got to get back to driving my own car.. which I recently got in Malaysia where I started working recently.. Its really exciting to first of all drive and then again in another country other than India which has lovely roads where you are driving within the city itself at about 60 Kmph on an average..

Its been a little emotional thing for me and my family.. since staying in a foreign country limits lot of things.. and specially driving.. if you are in country like Singapore where it is always better to take public transport and driving or owning a car is a super luxury.. At first I was a bit scared to even to start again with driving a car since I was out of touch for quite some time.. I would usually drive only when i go back to India for holidays.

The good thing about driving in India is that the car used to be serviced and kept all ready during my visit to india.. here it is totally different.. I have to take care of my own car.. look for daily, weekly & monthly schedules for routine checkups and maitenance.. else I could end up having a break down while i am off to an important meeting or something.. So that's again something new after having the habit of having someone at home.. to look after these things or have your familiar "anna" the mechanic in india who will come to pick your vehicle if it is broken down & help you get it back on road..

anyway here I got myself a Service from an agency called AAM - Automotive Association of Malaysia which is dealing with towing services, breakdown maintenance services etc... with RM 100 nominal charges this service is a must for any car on the road, else getting someone to come and tow the vehicle and do the necessary things is high costing :)

anyway I am getting used to doing my chores for the car on the weekends... so that I have a smooth ride during the rest of the week..

today we went to one of the Big malls called IOI mall which is about 15Kms from our home.. although the shopping experience was not too good.. I enjoyed driving and specially with my wife and kid around it is fun to roam around in the city with them.. in the comforts of your own car... and secondly aadi my son really enjoys cars and a die hard fan of the movie "cars" so he is very keen on going on a drive anytime and everytime....

although i haven't gone to some nice place in the car, but whenever I shall i will surely take lot of pictures and post them here.. till then..

Missing Pune

A picture speaks for a thousand words and that's what these pictures in this link are...
You got to see the pictures in this link and then tell me where it is from.. well.... I was zapped by looking at these pics...Aren't they wonderful.. This is what we have in memory about Pune.. the city of hills.. and not another IT Hub of the country...

These pictures were shared by one of the Puneites Mr. Satish Kumar who had been to this lovely heaven on earth... a few days back..

Lavasa city is private hill station that is being built on the backwaters of warsgaon dam around 40 kms from pune.The road to lavasa city is superb. The entire route to lavasa is very beautiful.Themghar dam is also on the same route.

The route Chandinichowk -> Pirangut from here straight road leads to Mulshi and if u take a left it leads to Lavasa city. There will not be any problem as the lavasa signboards guide you through the entire route.You can also take left after Bhukum petrol pump( before pirangut) which leads to mutha village on the Lavasa main road.This route not only reduces the distance but also has nice surroundings.

I would urge my friends in Pune who haven't been to this place to surely visit this place whenever they can and do drop a few lines.. on my blog to tell me more on this place..

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Do Pearls come to Market??

1) Hunt for the Shells........................

2) Collected the Shells.. and ready to work on them....

3) Clean the Shells to find the Raw Pearls....

4) Saw them.....

5) Wash the raw pearls ....

6) Starting with the workmanship to make them look like gliterring pearls..

7) Ready to wear... and shine..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

World's Best....

Basilica of our Lady of Peace, Yamoussoukroo..

Inside sitting capacity………..18,000 Outside overflow capacity….100,000


World Water Park…..Edmonton, Alberta, Canada…………..SIZE….5 Acres


Chicago Merchandise Mart…..Illinois, USA


South China Mall, Dongguan, China………892,000 meter-square
Shops on 6 floors


J.F.K International Airport , New York………………..USA


Sydney harbor bridge, Australia……..16 lanes of car traffic…..8 lanes in the upper floor, 8 in the lower floor


Donghai Bridge , China ……………………32.5 kilo meters


MS Freedom of the Seas……4300 passenger Capacity Inside


Airbus A380………..555 Passenger s


Neoplan Jumbo -cruiser……..2 in 1 bus….double deck bus……170 passenger capacity




Burj Dubai……….900 meters high. To be finally completed 2008


Palace of the Parliament…..Bucharest, Romania ………. more than 500 bedrooms, 55 kitchens,120 sitting rooms




New WEMBLEY STADIUM, London….90, 000 capacities…………….cost…..$1.6 billion


Interstate 10 Highways Interchange……Houston, Texas.


Built by KRUPP of Germany………….45,500 tons……95 meters high……215 meters long


Shah Feisal mosque…..Islamabad……Pakistan
Inside hall capacity ….35, 000 outside overflow capacity…… 150,000


MGM Grand Hotel….Las Vegas….6, 276 rooms


Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai….only 7 Star Hotel in the World
Cheapest room…$1000 per night.…..Royal suit…$28,000 per night


Winners` C hapel…….Canaanland ………. Otta…..…Nigeria
Inside Sitting Capacity……50,000 Outside Overflow Capacity……250,000


Self Appraisal

A little boy went into a drug store, reached for asoda carton and pulled it over to the telephone. Heclimbed onto the carton so that he could reach the buttons on the phone and proceeded to punch in sevendigits (phone numbers).
The store-owner observed and listened to theconversation:
Boy: "Lady, Can you give me the job of cutting yourlawn? Woman: (at the other end of the phone line): "Ialready have someone to cut my lawn."
Boy: "Lady, I will cut your lawn for half the price ofthe person who cuts your lawn now."Woman: I'm very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting my lawn.
Boy: (with more perseverance): "Lady, I'll even sweepyour curb and your sidewalk, so on Sunday you willhave the prettiest lawn in all of Palm beach , Florida." Woman: No, thank you.
With a smile on his face, the little boy replaced thereceiver. The store-owner, who was listening to allthis, walked over to the boy.
Store Owner: "Son... I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job."Boy: "No thanks,
Store Owner: But you were really pleading for one.Boy: No Sir, I was just checking my performance at thejob I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady, I was talking to!"

This is what we call "Self Appraisal"

Riots are for Nobody

Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is the "Queen of hill stations" and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India. Nilgiris means "Blue Mountains". It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level.
An added attraction for the tourists to Udagamandalam is the mountain train journey on a ratchet and pinion track which commences from Kallar, near Mettupalayam and wends its way through many hair-raising curves and fearful tunnels and chugs along beside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens.

It was sometime in 1996 Winter season in India, when we had a study tour organised for Southern part of India. We were to visit about 17 cities which included places like Hyderabad, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Bangalore, Mysore, Thiruvananthpuram, Ooty, Kodaikanal etc.. We were 36 of us from the College of Engineering Pune, batch of Mechanical engineering wanting to get away from our usual routine of engg. studies and have fun. We had an exciting journey all the while from the eastern coast side from Hyderabad to all the way to Kanyakumari and on way back till Ooty. It was a first time for lot of us to visit this "Queen of Hill Stations".

We got down at Ooty and the beauty of the place just mesmerised us to forget the world around us. We had got a lovely hotel which was located in one of the VIP areas and was a quiet and serene place. We started our day going to the Botanical garden in Ooty.

This garden was laid out in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale and is spread over 55 acres. Lush green well maintained lawns, rare tree species (like the cork tree which is probably the only such tree in India, the paper bark tree and the monkey puzzle tree - monkeys cannot climb this tree), a 20 million year old fossilized tree, an Italian-style garden bordering a clear pool, a vast variety of flowering bushes and plants in myriad hues (exotic and ornamental), fern house with a vast range of ferns and orchids, are some of the many highlights of this garden. A flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held every year in the month of May at this garden. The Garden is maintained by the Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu and has a very wide variety of plants that include different types of roses, imported shrubs, rare flowering plants etc.

We then went to another famous attraction in Ooty.

From just behind the Main Bus Stand (also near the Railway station) the famous Ooty Lake stretches, in an irregular 'L' shape, for about two kilometres in length and varrying distances in width. At the far end is the Boat House where all kinds of boats are available for hire from eight in the morning to six in the evening. During summer seasons, in May, boat races and boat pageantry are organised on two days at the lake which draw huge crowds.In recent years the lake and the boat house have become the hub of entertainment for the visitors. At the boat house end there is children's park with a toytrain. In the adjacent site there is a deer park. A mini-garden is at the bus stand end and a well laid footpath circles the entire lake. Just outside the Boat house local ponies are available for jolly rides at a charge.For the curious, this lake was artificially formed by Johm Sullivan, the founder of Ooty, in 1823-25 by damming the mountain streams flowing down Ooty valley. The lake which breached thrice, completely emptying itself, originally extended upto the present day market and ferries were used to get across one side to the other. The lake gradually shrunks in size giving place to the present racecourse, the bus stand, mini garden and some part from the mini garden end.

We were thoroughly enjoying the beauty of Ooty and I was enjoying getting to handle expensive cameras, since there are lot of these Honeymoon couple come down to have a good time and they want someone to take their pictures near the lake etc. And of course we too had lot of things to catch on and so we were busy clicking snaps of our own as well. We then thought of doing some shopping for ourselves and started walking towards the market place which is not too far from the central Bus stand and the railway station.

We could hear some distant voices as we were approaching the market in kannada/Tamil I could not make out, but it seemed like a big political meeting on the way. One of the key political leaders was supposed to be in town. We ignored the voices and continued with finding some bargains for us. We collected afew things for all of us and started walking from the market towards another area and suddenly the voices had begun louder and more like words out of angry people. We were in our own thoughts when we saw a huge mob of people walking towards us on the street in the direction we were heading to.

Somehow, we were unknown to what was happening - since none from our group were known to Kananda or tamil. But the way the mob was moving with some people wearing saffron colored bandanas and carrying sticks it started making our legs shake and start looking out for options to get out of this place. Until this time we hadn't realised but behind us we saw another mob with green flags and their faces showing similar kind of anger and approaching us from behind. This was it, we started telling each other to run and we started looking for place to run and saw these small houses going up the hill where we could see people who were trying to tell us to get away. We started scrambling and started running through the small lanes in between these village houses and looking for place to get shelter and suddenly realised that the mob was too close to us and they had started running towards us with their sticks ready to charge.

We were all scared like anything and we started running as fast as we could just to realise the hills side was getting steeper and difficult to catch on. I was not the lean types then as well and was not so fast but close to my friends, who were tlaking to each other and screaming to run fast. I almost saw a guy too close to me to reach out with his stick, but somehow I managed to run ahead and the man was not seen behind me. We kept on running for god knows how long but we finally reached the top where we could see familiar road which led to our hotel & somehow this place was unawares of the things going on just down near the market place. Did I mention that we were at Hill station... and well usually the temperature at this place in Summer : Max. 25°C, Min. 10°C & Winter : Max. 21°C, Min. 5°C and I was sweating, we were all sweating and panting and trying to catch our breath...what just happened was something I still dread to not happen in anyone's life. I know there have been worse things happened to people during riots in the other parts of the country and around the world.. but I think it was just luck that we weren't among the injured or the long lost ones... which we got to know the next day on news channels.. etc..

I hope we all realise sooner about the examples which we are setting for the new generation who at a very tender age has to see things which usually he won't see in a movie since movie talks about PG or A certificate which is harmful for the gentle minds of our children.. Fact is the newspapers and things around us have become more violent and ugly than the movies showed us earlier... and hence people tend to get back to a fanasy world or watch movies which don't show reality but a nice fantasy....

Lets make our little bit to avoid such things else we might not have a generation to tell our stories to our generations to come..

lets share happiness and peace for all......