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Apr 14, 2014

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

I had 3 hours and 6 hours layover from and to KUL respectively. That left me ample times to discover some of the facilities that I make use and came across at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.

Internet connection
Before exploring further, I went to get Internet connection at KPN Internet Centre & Zones. There are signs everywhere and I could locate the centre easily. The KPN Internet Zones are located at Departure Lounge 1, Pier C (near C10), Departure Lounge 3 (Pier G), Pier D and Departure Lounge 4 (Pier M). Schiphol, in collaboration with KPN, offers wireless Internet throughout the airport. I could even access the Internet right up to the gates. Options available:
15 minutes – Euro 3
30 minutes – Euro 6
90 minutes – Euro 12
24 hours – Euro 16

I chose to pay Euro 16 and after that, I happily posted some photos on my Instagram account. Alternatively, free WiFi is available at Amsterdam Schiphol airport for one hour. Connect to the “KPN Network” for a maximum two sessions at 30 minutes each.

Internet AMS
Internet pay machine. We can use cash or credit card to buy.

Passport Control
I had great experience passing through both securities; one to get to E Pier where gate 20 for KUL flight were located and another one to get to the arrival hall. The latter security officer even spoke to me in Malay. I asked him how did he learned the language and he told me that he picked it up from tourists. I, however, had to apologise to him because I do not know a single Dutch word; only some Deutsch words. He laughed, stamped my passport and let me through while saying ‘Selamat Jalan’!

airport01
Shops before the passport control area.

Food / Dining
While there are many food and drink options at Schiphol airport, I will just have to name the ones that I passed by. I did not have anything because I was still full from breakfast at Guegliemo Airport in Bologna and snack during the flight which covered my lunch. Here are some of the food outlets/cafes that I saw: Mc Donald’s, Food Village, Segafredo, Cupcakechic, GrabandFly, JuicyDetails, Starbucks and many more. You just got to be there to see all the food outlets the airport has; abundance!

airport02

Library
The Airport Library is the first library in the world to be located at an airport. Inside, it features the first iPads in the Netherlands, creating a spectacular space with a wealth of digital stations where passengers can read books, listen to music and get acquainted with Dutch culture and literature. Entry is free of charge. I picked up The Virtuoso and got to read many pages. Very interesting read Will buy the book at local bookstore. I also got the chance to charge my mobile phone and update about the book that I read.

schiphol library
One can find many interesting books to read here. There’s also Ipad at the desk to learn more about Amsterdam. Power port can be found on the desk as well.

Rijk Museum
The Rijksmuseum houses a permanent exhibition of ten works by Dutch masters of the Golden Age from the Rijksmuseum’s collection showcasing typical Dutch scenes: the Dutch countryside, Dutch waters, Dutch towns, Dutch royalty, Dutch people and their families painted by famous old masters. My most favourite painting is Het stadhuis op de Dam te Amsterdam by Gerrit Adriaenszoon Berckheyde, 1693. You can google the title and name if you want to see the painting.

The exhibition here changes a number of times a year. It is located on Holland Boulevard, in the area behind the passport control between the E and F Pier. The museum is open every day from 7:00 until 20:00 and admission is free.

This museum also consists of a shop that offers souvenirs specially crafted for the museum. I bought some Van Gogh’s postcards for myself as I am a big fan of his.

rijkmuseum

Shops
From gifts to souveniers to clothings; so many things can be found here. There’s H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Ako, Aviflora, Fleurtiek, World of Delights, Crocs and Body Shop, to name a few.

Luggage Storage / Lockers
I saw some luggage storage/lockers located at most of the lounges. Bags can be stored up to 7 days and the rates depend on the size of the locker – from EUR 5.00 per 24 hours to EUR 10.00 per 24 hours.

Children’s Play Areas
Kids Forest is a forest-like play area where your kids can run around and burn off some steam before getting on the flight. Hours: Holland Boulevard.

Currency Exchange
Currency exchange booths can be found at various spots throughout the airport (before and after passport control).

Prayer Rooms
There is a Meditation Centre is that is open to all religions located at the airside area (that’s before passport control if you are on a layover). The facility includes a library with text books of various religions in different languages.

Smoking Rooms
Smoking is not permitted inside the terminal except in designated smoking rooms near the food concessions.

Trains
I actually took a train to Amsterdam Centraal. Train service within the Netherlands and abroad are available from the airport’s train station. Schiphol train station is located directly below the airport. I bought my ticket at the big yellow machines for 4 Euro per one way. The travel time to Amsterdam is 15 minutes.

ticket
I did get to Amsterdam Centraal for few hours. Will blog about it in another blog post.

Last but not least, my overlay transit was smooth. I went back in through the passport control by showing my passport and boarding pass. With the sign posted everywhere, I got to E Pier then to gate 20 without any problem. Like any other security check at the custom area, I just had to take out electronic gadgets from my bag, coins from my pockets and take out my jacket and belt. This is normal procedure and I know that security is very important. I still see people mumbling about the bottled drinks that they had to leave behind but I think maybe that was their first time flying. I just smile and put on my jacket and belt at the end of the custom check while walking to the waiting area to board the plane.

KLM flies from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to destinations worldwide. The airport has one terminal. The ground floor houses four arrival halls, the NS (Dutch Railways) train station and Schiphol Plaza. The first floor houses three departure halls, check-in desks, passport control, departure lounges 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the See Buy Fly shops.

Apr 12, 2014

Driving overland from Malaysia to Thailand

Driving overland from Malaysia to Thailand was fun! It was a spontaneous plan by my husband out of frustration that my son could not join an event in Kuala Terengganu because of age and safety factor. I do not blame the organiser but myself for letting my son put high hope to join the event.

So we drove from Pantai Penarik, Kuala Terengganu to Rantau Panjang, Kelantan.

We had problems in the beginning but we settled it within few hours. You see, to enter the border by car, a Malaysian needs to have:

1. 2 sets of car registration copy,
2. Car Insurance,
3. 2 sets of IC and driving licence copy,
4. Passport.

We didn’t have the first two. I covered the latter two because I always bring my family’s passport whenever we travel around Malaysia. And of course, I carry my driving licence in my purse. And visa is not needed as Malaysians have been exempted from it with a period of stay not exceeding 30 days each time.

So, how did I get a copy of my car registration? I called my niece, Wanda, in KL and ask her to send me a photo of my car registration. She e-mailed me a copy and then we went to find a printing shop. We got it printed and later went to get car insurance. We found an agent not far from the the border and bought one for RM45. It is valid for 3 months.

And then we drove into the Rantau Panjang Immigration Complext at the border. We handed our passports and got them stamped. And further up, we have to park our car and get to JPJ counter to have the photocopies of car registration verified and stamped by the officer. I also need to show my original Identity Card. The verified photocopy is valid for one month.

Later on, we passed by Thai police posted not far from JPJ counter and drove to Sungai Golok Boundary Post (Sungai Golok CIQ Complex) and parked our car. Here we need to get a carnet for our car, get the arrival and departure card and get our passport stamped. We learned from the custom officer that car insurance can also be obtained from the counter.Then we were directed to custom officer at the boundary post to have our passport stamped and pass the arrival card.

carnet
Carnet documents.

 After that we get to our car and just drove pass by the post. And….we’re in Sungai Golok, Thailand!!

Thailand
Among first few things I noticed about Thailand are motorcyle with carriage and cable system. Berserabut kabel!

I will post about our trip around some parts of Thailand in another post, ok. At the mean time, I want to highlight the process of  driving overland from Malaysia to Thailand via Sungai Golok (the process is the same from any entry point).

It’s easy really if you have all the document ready, unlike us. So I am going to summarise the steps to make it easier for you (Malaysian only, I do not know how for other nationalities) to understand how to enter Thailand:

The steps to enter Sungai Golok, Thailand from Rantau Panjang, Malaysia

1. Photocopy of car registration. Make 2 photocopies ready in hand but to be on the safe side, just bring the original in case they need it if the photocopy is not that clear.

2. Car insurance – you can get one from a shop few meters before the Rantau Panjang Immigration Complex. Alternatively, you can get the insurance at Thailand’s CIQ Complex, Sungai Golok. Why we need one? Because our local insurance only covered Malaysia, Republic of Singapore and Negara Brunei Darussalam.

3. Enter the Rantau Panjang Immigration complex. Hand over your passport to be stamped.

4. Verification from JPJ – Park your car after you drive through the immigration complex. You need to go to JPJ counter and get both sets of your documents (car registration, IC and Driving Licence copy) to be verified by the JPJ officer. Owner of the car has to be present. If the owner is not present, you must produce 2 sets of a letter from the owner with a stamp by Commissioner of Oath, beforehand. The officer will give you back both verified copies; one for you to keep and one for Thailand’s custom.

5. Drive through the gate where polices are posted. They will do random check and let you through.

6. Passport and arrival/departure card – Park your car at Thailand’s CIQ Complex. Go to the immigration counter and ask for arrival & departure card (the form is in a piece of perforated card to separate the arrival and departure section) from the counter. Fill it in and present together with your passport to the immigration officer. The officer will stamp your passport and take the arrival card, leaving you with the departure card for exit purpose. Please keep the departure card safe because you cannot exit Thailand without it. In case you lost it, just get one off the counter before you approach departure control, fill it in and present with your passport.

7. Carnet form – Just beside the immigration counter, there’s a custom counter. Hand over a set of verified copy of car insurance, photocopy of IC, driving license (and verified letter from owner; if applicable) together with your passport to the officer. The carnet process will take only about 10 minutes. The carnet is actually a Simplified Customs Declaration Form (for motorcar and motorcycle temporarily imported or exported). Please check all the details before leaving the counter. I didn’t check mine but later found out that the color of my car was written ‘gold’ in the form. My car is purple. But lucky, there was no problem. The carnet is valid for one month. Please do not forget to return the carnet form when you exit because it is important that they have a record that your car have exited together with you. If you did not return the carnet form, they will assume your car will still be in Thailand and you will be fine 1000 Baht daily for failure to return it.

8. Exiting Thailand – In my case, I went across Thailand to get to Dannok Post on the Bukit Kayu Hitam side. This side of the boundary post is a bit chaos (but maybe that was just because of the Songkran Festival when I visited). The traffic was horrendous and you have to go find a parking space to park your car. Then you (and all passengers) have to walk to the Immigration/Departure Post (there are many posts, just choose one) and queue to have yourself cleared and passport stamped. You need to pay 20 Baht for each person. Then you need to get to the counter just behind the post to return the carnet form. You need to sign on the carnet form and on a log book. And that is all the process for Thailand’s side.

9. Entering Malaysia – drive your car pass the immigration, have your passport stamped and later drive further up for police and custom check. You need to open your car boot for checking. If you didn’t buy anything, they will clear you to enter Malaysia via the green lane. I am not sure what is the case if you buy things from Thailand. I guess you will need to pay for tax.

And that’s it. Finito. Hope you find this information useful if you want to drive overland from Malaysia to Thailand.

Oh, a tip for you before you enter Thailand; fill in your fuel tank to the max because Thai Government does not subsidise fuel like Malaysian Government.

Stay tuned for my Thailand’s blog posts.

Apr 9, 2014

My flight experience with KLM

KLM_bird
A bird perching on rudder.

I had never been on KLM flight and was excited to get on it because KLM has kindly sponsored my trip to Italy to attend Bologna Children’s Book Fair. I requested to get on the 21st March flight but it was full so I had to go on an earlier flight. KLM got me a flight on the 19th but since the book fair will only start on 24th, I requested to board off at Rome and follow fellow illustrator friend, Evelyn, to Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy for an excursion.

The flight was at 11.45pm and my husband dropped me off at the departure terminal and off I went to the check-in machine but it was not working so I went to the counter instead.

Although I can carry my backpack because it weighed less than 12kg, I checked it in because it was heavy for me to carry. Haha, so much for travelling light. I had my book promotion items and that’s the main reason why it was heavy. I didn’t bring much clothings actually. Anyway, only one luggage (maximum 23kg) are permitted to be checked-in. For hand-carry bag, it is up to 12kg.

I only carry my handbag of about 3kg (loaded with laptop, camera and cables). I stuffed my toiletries (liquid and gel) in my backpack because I read on the website earlier that starting January 2014, liquids and gels can only be carried aboard in my hand-baggage if they are placed in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag which itself may not exceed one litre in capacity.

My check-in was very smooth and I later walked to the boarding area, passing immigration and duty-free areas before boarding on the train to satellite terminal and to the gate.

Prior to leaving, I got myself an aisle seat for KUL-AMS leg because it will make easier for me to get to the lavatory because night flight tends to get my bladder full every time. For AMS-FCO leg, I opted for window seat because I like to view earth from bird’s eye view.

For your information, I registered for KLM Account via Facebook. KLM account is free to register and we can even log in with other social accounts such as Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Having this account will make it easier for us to purchase tickets without having to insert all our details all over again. We can always view all our bookings/tickets summary the next time we travel as it will all linked into our account. By logging into My Trip through either our account or booking code, we can:
- View and change our travel details
- Choose favourite seat and see who’s on board
- Order à la carte meal, add more baggage and arrange handy services.

Soon as the plane took off, I (along with other passengers) was served a meal; choices of rice and chicken or pasta together with bread, salad and dessert. I opted for rice as I had pasta at home before leaving. The food was delicious! I eat happily without any doubt because prior to leaving, I did some checking about the meal on KLM’s website; whether it is halal for Muslim. According to the website, Muslim meal: does not contain pork, by-products of pork or food containing alcohol. All meats come from ritually slaughtered animals. I double-checked by calling KLM office in Kuala Lumpur and they confirmed that all food outbound and inbound to/fro AMS (Amsterdam) to/fro KUL (Kuala Lumpur) and JKT (Jakarta) route is halal. But that is not the case for AMS-FCO leg, so I requested for vegetarian meal.

foodKULAMS
Rice and chicken on board.

With a full stomach, I continued to indulge myself with at least a good movie. I selected Diana from the list. I haven’t seen the movie yet. Diana was just released September last year. There were few other new movies but I was too sleepy to watch. By the time I woke up, it was breakfast time! Yes, I slept about 9 hours (Flight was 12 hours; 3 hours for meal and movie) because I did not sleep the night before that due to work overload. I went to the lavatory only once haha. The passenger besides me did not go to toilet at all. Lucky me, I didn’t have to un-buckle my seatbelt or stand or squeeze my legs up.

Breakfast was egg and fried potatoes served with bread, fruits, dessert and coffee/tea. Not long after that, it was time to land in Amsterdam.

I had 3 hours layover before I could board the flight to Rome and I took the time to explore a small part of Schiphol Airport. I will cover this in another post soon, ok?

And then it was time to board the flight to Rome. While waiting to board, there was an announce whether there’s any passenger willing to trade seat with a man on the next flight. The man offered 350 Euro. Whoa! I wish I could trade my seat had I not make any plan to go to Tuscany with Evelyn.

Anyway, I boarded the flight as scheduled.

sandwich
Yummy breakfast!

I had yummy cheese sandwich snack and coffee while watching great views outside my window. See the sandwich box? I kept it and brought it home because I think the idea is brilliant, not to mention the cute box design! Oh, the bread was super delicious, I could eat a pack just like that without cheese. The fact that the grain was grounded in an authentic Dutch windmill has got something to do with the taste.

I continued to watch the view outside my window before it was time to land at Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO), Rome, Italy.

alps
Weee! Alps Mountains below!

The AMS-FCO flight duration was one hour and 45 minutes and I had a great and safe flight. A steward on the flight converse to me in Malay language and that, made it even more great! I mean, how often can you hear cabin crew speaks Malay other than those outbound/inbound KUL on local airlines?

Getting to Rome: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from KUL to FCO (Rome).

Apr 6, 2014

Aphabet for Boys & Girls

These books by me will soon be available at Popular and MPH at least by end of April. If you want to get it earlier make sure to visit KL Bookfair at PWTC from 24 April-3 May 2014.

alphabet-for-boys_web alphabet-for-girls_web

Apr 2, 2014

April Top Commenters giveaways

Thrill to know what’s this month’s giveaways? Here is the list:

1st will received a set of Dina Series book in Bahasa Melayu, Dapur Emak Saya and Taman Bunga Emak Saya, published by Karangkraf. This set is a prototype set that was meant for Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy. So yeah, a very rare collection.

Dinaseries

2nd one will receive Lil’ Guardian gift set box containing flash cards of Lil’ Guardian and its flower (information on the reverse side of the card)and bookmarks.

lilguardian

3rd one will receive a complete set of Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila.

SiriKraf

So, there you go, all books by me. Enticed? You know what you have to do; comment away and be on the Top 3 list.

 

 

 

Apr 2, 2014

Vken Energy Socks

Knowing that I travel a lot, a friend gave me a pair of Vken socks to try out. I have knee and back pain also and she said that it is good to try Vken. So I am all out to try the socks.

vkensocks

For your information, Vken Ultimate Energy products help soothe, relieve, repair, remove, rejuvenate, restore and detox by improving the micro-circulation of blood in our body. These bring more oxygen and nutrients to damaged or ‘starved’ tissue of unhealthy cells. Healing and restoration are made possible effectively and naturally through the far infrared rays(FIR) and the negative ions found in the Vken products.

Vken Energy Socks are made of energy stones using Japan & German nano technologies which produce good Far Infrared Ray and Negative ions that improve blood circulation by 50% in 10 minutes.

Vken product range has won Taipei International Invention Show and Technomart Bronze Award 2005 & 2010.

If you like to buy a pair, please visit Vken Ultimate Energy Products. Or you can call or send message via Whatsapp: Mysara – 0168449792.

Apr 1, 2014

I am back from Italy!

I actually got back on Sunday evening but just got the time to update pictures in Facebook and Instagram. I am also in the middle of writing blog posts about Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Italy soon to be published here.

Italy trip was great and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. In the mean time, here’s a picture of Archidosso village that I visited in Italy.

arci

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April 2014 Giveaway

1st will received a set of Dina Series book in Bahasa Melayu, Dapur Emak Saya and Taman Bunga Emak Saya, published by Karangkraf.

2nd one will receive Lil’ Guardian gift set box containing flash cards of Lil’ Guardian.

3rd one will receive a complete set of Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila.

April 2014 Top Ones

Buy my stuff

If you wish to buy any of these, drop me an e-mail: emilayusof@gmail.com. I will reply with the details how to buy.

LPLegendary Princesses of Malaysia By Raman & Emila Yusof RM28 (Add RM10 for WM postage/RM15 EM) 24 pages, 24cm x 30cm ISBN 978-967-0481-09-8

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MMK
My Mother's Kitchen by Emila Yusof RM24 (Add RM10 for WM postage/RM15 EM) 24 pages, 19.5cm x 24cm ISBN 978-967-0481-10-4

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mmg
My Mother's Garden (2nd Edition) by Emila Yusof RM24 (Add RM10 for WM postage/RM15 EM) 24 pages, 19.5cm x 24cm ISBN 978-967-5250-44-6

Buy my cards at GCU

All cards from greetingcarduniverse.com will be shipped from California, USA. Local and international buyers are welcome. Payments can be made via PayPal.


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