Finally it was time to go back to reality. We wanted to start the journey early as we had to stop at KL to pay our last respect to KC's fourth uncle. We got the news the day before. Now there is only Pak Pak left from that generation. Two in this holiday....so strange and sad.
 Anyways.....last look at the resort before leaving. KC wanted to take Kuala Terengganu - Chukai - Kuantan - KL route....which is much longer I think. He wanted us to have a look at the coastal side of the country. Roads were closed because of the rain...we had to change route here and there. We saw a signage of a highway to KL...looked incomplete. Upon inquiry...it could be used. But KC decided not to take it though it would save time. He needed to do certain stuff as suggested by blogs.
 All along the way we saw scenes like this...houses in water. It's quite scary when we pass bridges and see the water level is the same as the bridge.
 We turned into Bukit Tok Beng at Kuala Terengganu to get keropok lekor. According to a few blogs, the famous lekor is from this place. People queue to buy...numbers are given out. So when we saw the sign Bukit Tok Beng by the road and Keropok Lekor on the first stall, we just turned in. Actually the original one was just slightly up.

Besides lekor, we also bought the normal keropok for frying. We also got satar....it's fish in coconut and wrapped with mengkuang leaves, put in sticks and barbequed. Very nice.

 At Chukai, we stopped at the famous Hai Peng Kopitiam...again KC's must do as suggested by blogs. So surprised to see Muslims patronizing it. Lovely kopitiam with fantastic vietnamese coffee. KC had nasi dagang....very nice though simple and small in quantity. Dan had kaya toast...ok.
 Lyn and I shared mashed potatoes with curry. Nice....it's like east meets west combo.
After Chukai was Kuantan. We passed Cherating....where we went for our honeymoon. We turned into the highway which KC was very doubtful of. Finally he decided to get off at Kuantan....not sure where the highway was headed to. But when we got off, the road to Kuantan was blocked because of flood. Only busses dare to pass through. We turned back to the highway again and it brought us all the way to KL. We reached the funeral parlour about 7.30pm.

Well, that was our short family retreat away. It was a very interesting experience. First time in Malaysia that we covered so many miles on the road and during a season when one shouldn't be going to the East Coast.
Woke up on Christmas morn and was worried the weather would continue to be bad. It didn't get worse, neither did it get better. Continued to rain but just drizzle. After breakfast, we went to the agents near the jetty....didn't want to do any tour with the hotel as we read somewhere that it is more expensive. Tour agents were not ready for business...we managed to get one guy. We hired a boat for RM150 to take us to two places....a waterfall and a herb garden ... all in an hour and half.

 Our first stop...Saok Waterfall. There are many waterfalls around here. See the water gushing out to the lake.
 We climbed up the steep flight of steps to get a closer view of the waterfall. The boatman warned us not to get to close to the rocks as they might be slippery. The waterfall was scary...violent gushing water. This is due to the rain for so many days.
 Getting into the boat again ... the stairs were like 75degree...real steep. Our next stop was the herb garden. Nothing great here ... lots of fauna which are labelled.
 The boat ride was most enjoyable. It was drizzling most of the time. So the weather was cool and cloudy. No worries about getting sun-burnt. The scene around us was beautiful but we did see lots of garbage...mostly plastic water bottles floating around. The worst was actually near the waterfall where there is debris from logging and a log floating in the water.
 Kenyir is a big lake. I think we only covered a small part of the lake. It is as big as Singapore. The cool and cloudy weather made us imagine that a monster might be lurking in the water like in the Loch Ness. We hope authorities will control development or over-development so that the beauty of the lake can be preserved. Logging has its effect on the lake. Certain parts of the lake is orangy brown in colour.
 This is the Kenyir Dam which is close to the jetty. As we got nearer to the jetty, the water became warmer and the colour was brown. Signs of development.
 It was a most satisfying ride on the boat. We left for Kuala Berang after that. Wanted to go to Kuala Terengganu but the locals discouraged us from going. Too far. So we went to Kuala Berang instead. Roads were closed here and there so we had to make quite a few detours. Wanted to look for a chinese restaurant but there was none. We ended up eating malay food....all of us enjoyed except Dan. Kuala Berang is a small town where the population are mostly Malays. We find the Malays here very friendly and helpful especially the older folks.
 Later in the afternoon while we were resting back in the resort, KC saw two iguanas swimming in the water below the chalet. This is the bigger one. There are lots of 'wild' animals here. We were told that due to the rain, there snakes will come out. Later that night, I saw a small frog jumped in from the balcony. It's those small slim frogs that jump real high. Almost jumped onto the bed!!! The next day I saw a lump of shit on the balcony. I wonder what animal climbed up the stilts to shit there.
 In the evening, we decided to walk out of the resort to explore the place a little. The picture above shows the row of chalets at the resort and a man fishing.
There is a retaining wall around this part of the lake. Quite steep....see somebody has to move like spiderman to get up.

It was a most relaxing and enjoyable Christmas day. Quite different from the norm....I still miss Christmas at home where we go to church and lepak at home.
It was such a relief when we turned into the resort. We had to park the car near the guard house as take a buggy to the lobby. The resort is hilly overlooking the lake. Accomodation is in the form of chalets. It's just green and hilly everywhere with breathtaking views of the lake.

The buggy service takes us everywhere. The roads are winding and narrow. So we just need to call the buggy to send us to the lobby etc. But most of the time we walked to the lobby. It's not that far....just need to walk lots of steps.
 View from the lobby. Can't see the island further away because it was raining and cloudy.
 The chalet is built on stilts. Our chalet is one of the closest to the lake. Big room with big bathroom. Lovely....all quiet and serene. But the place need to be maintained. A little dirty.

Here is a view of the lake from the chalet. It was taken in the morning. Lots of clouds shrouding the islands. While we were here we hardly saw the sun. It was the monsoon. Non-stop rain.

 It was Christmas eve....we had dinner at the restaurant in the hotel. Food was ok. Seems strange this year to be away during Christmas. Usually Christmas eve is at home with everybody around and big dinner. After that it is opening the presents under the tree. This year, no tree and I didn't wrap any presents.

After dinner we went back to the chalet and sang carols to our hearts' content. Kids and I had a good time talking and sharing while KC snored. I felt asleep in the middle of the sharing and it seemed the kids went on talking till wee hours. Sometime in the middle of the night I heard Lyn burst out singing a carol. She wasn't aware of it when I told her the next day....dreaming.
Aahh.....sesat this picture. This is a deer at the deer park near the entrance. Look at the antlers. Woody. There are three deers. Pathetic looking. This particular one is more impressive with the antlers but it's so dirty. Can see grime and what have you hanging from it and flies all over. Animals should be left to roam freely in the wild and man should stop disturbing them. Sigh. I get so upset whenever I see animals like this.

Anyway....that was Christmas Eve at Kenyir. One in a lifetime experience. Had a great time bonding with the kids.
It has been a strange holiday. We were not able to take a holiday together as a family till recently when all of us were able to get together. Kids were done with carolling on 23rd December. So the next day we made our first holiday trip together as a family ... it was actually a short break just to retreat from the busyness and relax. I had to approach both HM and PK1 to request to be excused from meetings on the 26th.

KC estimated 7 hours drive to Kenyir Lake by going up north to Gua Musang and then turning east. So by 6.10am we were in the car. We stopped at Bentong for breakfast. It was interesting to find a kopitiam that serves vietnamese noodles. All of us except Dan had viet beef noodles which was just ok. The coffee was good though.


 After breakfast, we decided to make a detour to Camang waterfall. We felt we were still early....so we could afford the time. Took a left turn and drove about 8km to the waterfall.

Really glad we made this stop. The waterfall is beautiful and impressive. Water is clear and clean.
 There is even a hanging bridge.
 Closer to the waterfall. Quite a big one.
 Slightly past 9am, we continued our journey. We headed towards Raub, Kuala Lipis and planned to stop at Gua Musang for lunch. Raub and Kuala Lipis route has lots of logging junctions....as it was raining...we didn't meet many trucks. We even saw a signage showing a gold mine...Penjom Gold Mine.
 It was a cloudy day....cooling for the drive. Along the way we saw a few accidents. I managed to get pictures of these two.
 A truck turned over. Some local motorists stopped to loot the truck.
It was sort of drizzling when we arrived Gua Musang. Along the way we saw many limestone caves. They are even more beautiful than the caves in Ipoh. A possible location for filming Hobbits??? KC thinks so....every peak he saw was a possible Erabor. That is the train station with limestone hill behind. I like Gua Musang....very quaint town.
 We looked through a few blogs and found this restaurant recommended. So we had our lunch here. Fish, 4 beans in sambal and a taufoo dish came up to RM122.50.  The fish is RM110 per kg....(fresh water fish which is supposed to be popular in this place). Fish we ate was RM85....very nice. We enjoyed the lunch...delicious though pricey.
 The next route was tricky. We were supposed to go on east using Felda Aring road. Blogs warned us of bad road etc. Wow...as the picture shows...the road was full of potholes. It was an awful drive. It was raining the whole way. A low car would have problem...the best is a 4 wheel drive. At the resort, the buggy driver told us of a guest who lost a wheel bumping on this road.

 From this bumpy road, we turned into route 185....KC missed the junction and drove into Felda and was stopped by the security. Route 185 is supposed to be better but still need to be cautious. It's nothing like the highways and roads on the western side. We saw this real interesting tree. As there was not much traffic on the road, KC drove slowly so we could take a few shots.

Again from the blogs we read, we looked out for the Elephant Sanctuary. It was quite a while before we saw it. It was raining heavily by then so no elephant rides. Five big elephants and a small one in a cage. All the elephants were chained at the foot. Huge animals. Looked quite well taken care of though it was pitiful to see them chained and nodding their heads in a sorrowful way.

After taking some pictures, we hit the road again. We were so tired by the time we reached Kenyir  Lake Resort around 5pm. We spent almost 11 hours on the road covering 4 states....Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Pahang and final destination; Terengganu!

After the kids' carolling practice, we rushed off to PD again. This time to Thistle (which was known as Guoman when we first visited it long time ago). KC's second brainstorming was in Thistle with a different group of people. 

Thistle is slightly further from Avillion. It's quite close to the Methodist Center and Cape Rachado (where the lighthouse is). After enjoying Avillion, we kind of had our expectations slightly higher. From what I remembered of Thistle, it was a big place with a golf course. 

So we were kind of disappointed with the room when we arrived. It was facing the golf course. As it is a room and not a chalet, the space is slightly smaller. Dan was disappointed with the bathroom which doesn't have a bathtub. I was disappointed at not having the sea right beneath me (well, I already know the sea won't be so close this time but.....I miss hearing the waves).
 The room has a very big bed....I think it's like two super singles joined together. Again for the four of us....more than enough sleeping space.
 The view in the night. The whole place is nicely lighted up. I remembered a little herb garden many years ago when I visited but found that the garden isn't there anymore.
 We decided to follow this path in the night and it brought us to.......
 Cumulus...a bar (which was closed when I revisited in the morning). It's a nice bar...I was hoping to go there for a drink with KC but by the time he returned to the room, I was already snoring. Kids were not allowed in, though Dan said he could pretend to be an adult....everyone knows he's a kid from his baby face.
 The path in the morning.....
 This is supposed to be an infinity pool just next to the bar. So you can drink and swim...It's so quiet and nice when I visited in the morning that I was so tempted to just jump in for a swim (didn't have time).
 The porch of the bar. The beach is just below. Very lovely.....when the kids and I took a peep in the night, there was hardly anybody. Probably it was a weekday.
 The beach....it was low tide this morning. The sand was solid compared to the beach at Avillion where your feet just sink in. Different sort of sand. It's finer here and when it's wet the sand gets compacted. Had a great time doing some stretches again facing the sea. Again there was hardly anybody on the beach....most people are lazy I think; they would rather laze in bed than to go the beach at 7 in the morning. I can't afford to laze today....had to leave at 8.30 to send kids to music class.
 The swimming pool is big....very spacious. Infact the whole place is spacious. It has its own uniqueness and beauty compared to Avillion. Checked the price and found that it's more expensive than Avillion....maybe it's the golf course.
which do I prefer? Thistle or Avillion? Thistle is a bigger place with larger land area. The beach is quieter as it is further away. Cleaner too. But I like the concept in Avillion...village styled chalets built into the sea.

Whenever KC goes for brain storming or whatever they call it in PD, we will follow if we have the time. This time it is Avillion. Reached there quite late as I had to wait for the kids to finish their carolling practice and take them for dinner before I could hit the road. Was telling the kids, if it had been KL, I will not drive them there as I don't drive in cities.

Was dark by the time we reached the hotel. I'm fine with it as I think I'm quite familiar with PD roads. Unfortunately there was no parking at the hotel compound, we had to park across the road (they had extended parking across the road).

Was quite impressed with the place. KC had a chalet built into the sea. Big with two single beds and a queen sized day bed. Was more than enough room for us. On top of it, the bathroom is also very big and luxurious. While we walked around and enjoyed the place, somebody had to crack his brains brainstorming till almost midnight!!!
 Got up early to catch the sunrise with a cup of coffee. But sunrise is not from this side....can catch sunset here.
 The chalets built into the sea. It was low tide this morning. Can actually walk underneath the chalets.

 The sea was actually quite clear and clean as it was low tide. We could walk quite far out and the water just reached the ankle. But when the tide came in, the upper part of the beach was dirty. So the water ended up looking brown and murky.

 View from the lobby. Nice swimming pool and games center.

This is the entrance. We had to walk across to the car park to get our car.

Had to rush home as the kids had carolling practice again. No chance to just loiter around PD longer.

It's a nice place to relax especially if it is not peak. I enjoyed the early morning walk along the beach doing some stretching exercises.