We stayed at a place called Royal Kamuela in Ubud in Bali in Indonesia in July 2013. Here is a short video that shows the villa.
Archive for the Category "Video"
I go to Kuala Lumpur (or KL as it is also called) in Malaysia on business from time to time and I have had the great pleasure of actually working in Petronas Twin Towers and I have been to the skybridge when I went on vacation to Malaysia a few years back (see my KL trip report on my homepage ). As I have worked in the towers I have had the chance to stop by the skylobby on 41st and 42nd floor all the time – but a few months back I came across some information saying that it was also possible to get to the 86th floor – which means that you practically get to the very top as there are 88th floors. So one day when going to work in the towers, I stopped by to check out the ticket situation. The tickets can be bought in the lower level and you reach it by using the escalator leading down near the lobby of either tower 1 or tower 2. When I did the skybridge a few years back when I was in KL on vacation the tickets were free and it was a “first come, first serve” basis and the tickets were only given out day by day. It seems like they have changed that now – these days you can buy tickets in advance for a given time and the tickets are 50 Ringgit (17 USD). The ticket gives you access to the Skybridge and the 86th floor.
So on a Sunday afternoon at 4 pm I had a ticket and I got there 15 minutes ahead of time as instructed. After an introduction where the animation was displayed on water vapor(!) I was allowed to enter the elevator. The whole thing was organized in a great way as people got different color badges and hence it was easy to instruct people around. The elevator that took me up to the skybridge on 41st floor is really a service elevator I guess but they have pimped it a bit as there were screens on the wall displaying the view of the KLCC area as if the elevator was a glass elevator. The view from the skybridge is pretty good but not amazing in any way – but as it is located about 170 meters above the ground (about 560 feet) you get a good view of the KLCC park and area but a lot of the view is also blocked by the towers. Due to this I have always recommended people to rather check out the view from KL tower instead. After about 10 minutes on the skybridge I was summoned by one of the guards and we were pushed into the elevator once again and this time I was transported to 83rd floor. From here there was a passage where they had posted info about some of the tallest buildings in the world (like Burj Khalifa in Dubai which I had the pleasure of visiting a while back …see http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=696 ). Once again we had to get into an elevator – this time much smaller and much slower as it only took us 3 floors up to 86th floor.
The 86th floor was actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be – when I have enjoyed the view from the lounge at Traders hotel (see my review of this great hotel on http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=72 ) the top of the towers looks so small – but in reality there was quite a lot of room and the best thing was of course that there was a view in more or less all directions! It was unreal to see how tiny buildings like Citybank and Traders were compared to the height of the Petronas tower! The 86th floor is located about 360 meters above the ground so the view is just spectacular! Apart from the view there were also various models of the city, of the towers and also a model of how the future of KLCC might be. They also had a couple of screens with some augmented reality (so hang on to your ticket after you go in). After 10-15 minutes at the top we were called again by the guards and after a quick stop on 83rd floor, we took the lift all the way down from 83rd to the ground level (or sub level actually) where we had to go through the gift shop on the way out. If you are into skyscrapers and buildings with a view you should definitely stop by Petronas Twin Towers to enjoy the view from the 86th floor
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures
Thaipusam is one of those festivals that I have seen photos/documentaries about but never thought I would experience – but all of a sudden I found myself is Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for business during this is a Hindu festival. The festival is celebrated mostly by the Tamil community around the world and the festival normally ends with a procession to a temple. But the preparation can be long for those that are really dedicated as it includes more than 40 days of fasting, trying to focus only on God, sleeping on a mat in the temple, goes into celibacy etc. In Kuala Lumpur (or KL) in Malaysia the festival ends in a procession from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in the heart of the city to Batu Caves located about 15 kilometers out of town – and it ends with a steep climb up 272 steps to the temple there. To understand the photos it is also important to understand that on the day of the festival the devotees will shave their heads (and get some sort of golden painting on their heads) and undertake this pilgrimage while they engage in various acts of devotion. The people carry various types of what is known as kavadi (which means burdens). The simplest kavadi is a pot of milk but there are some that take this even further and they pierce the skin, tongue or cheeks with skewers and they carry huge constructions. You can read more about the Thaipusam festival on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaipusam
Thaipusam was celebrated on February 7th of 2012 and I took the train to Batu Caves as lots of the roads are blocked due to the procession. But luckily the KTM Komuter train goes from KL Sentral station and stops right at the Batu caves. When I boarded the rather small train at KL Sentral it was easy to see where this was leading – the train cars were totally packed and I just managed to squeeze in before the doors closed behind me. In advance I has asked Malaysian acquaintances about Thaipusam at Batu Caves and most replied that it included too many people, that it was way too crowded, too hot etc. The train to Batu Caves was only like 2 Ringgit (70 US Cent) and it takes maybe 30 minutes. When getting out of the station, I was basically in the middle of it all. There were people serving food so there was a scent of cooking in the air, music was blasting from loudspeakers all over the place, people were selling books and there was even a couple of rides there (like a ferris wheel). But the main thing is of course the procession that ends here so I made my way over to the steep stairs leading up to Batu caves while I was holding on to my belongs as there had been a bit of talking about pickpockets during the festival. I moved close in on the procession to try to get some nice photos but unfortunately my digital SLR camera stopped working on me so I had to stick to my small Canon IXUS camera. I guess I got a bit too close to the procession as all of a sudden I was in the stream of people and I was “dragged” towards the steps leading up to the Batu caves. It was fascinating to see some of the people carrying their HUGE kavadis. Each of them seemed to have a team of helpers who provided them with a stool to sit on, some water to drink and that shouted words of encouragement. Many of the people had piercings through their cheeks and tongues, some had hooks in the backs with apples or small bells and some even had larger hooks in the back and with ropes they were held back. The steps leading up to Batu caves were totally packed and I’m glad that people stayed calm as it could have been ugly if people had started panic for one reason or another. I walked up the steps slowly as I wanted to take pictures on the way and because it was 30-35 degrees Celsius so I was actually soaking wet of sweat after a few hours.
Inside the cave itself there were lots and lots of people and I guess this marks the end of the march. I just looked around there for a while and as it was pretty packed it was hard to move around. I don’t envy the people that had to clean up the area after the festival as there was trash everywhere. Going down also took a bit of time as it was packed but it seemed like they controlled which of the three “lanes” in the steps that were leading up and which was leading down. When I came down there were still lots of people lining up to start the climb to the caves and the procession leading to the area seemed to be never ending. Seeing this festival with my own eyes was a real treat so if you are in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia during thaipusam you should not miss out on a visit to Batu caves. Yes, it is crowded and it is hot – but it is totally worth it.
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures
Here is a nice video that I found focusing on Stavanger and the surrounding area. It is a pretty accurate presentation…but the weather is not always that nice You can find more information about Stavanger and the area on http://www.greaterstavanger.com/
As I live in Stavanger, I have had the pleasure of visiting the amazing Pulpit Rock (or Preikestolen as it is called in Norwegian) many times. I went there in June 2011 and the weather was perfect for trekking. Here is a short video showing you what you can expect if you do this trek in the summer time. You can also read more about it in this trip report.
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures
After a short stop in Bangkok, we moved to the Krabi area in the south of Thailand where we stayed at the Small hotel near Ao Nang beach outside Krabi. We had a moon deck suite and we did have high expectations but these were not met – maybe because we just came from a great hotel in Bangkok. But here is the review of the hotel as posted on Tripadvisor and below is a video of our room.
We just had the pleasure of staying at Le Meridien in Bangkok. When we arrived we were upgraded to a suite and got a great room.
I booked the hotel online on the Starwood Preferred Guest site and we chose this hotel as we wanted to try out a new hotel in Bangkok – from before we have tried hotels like Sheraton Sukhumvit, Westin Sukhumvit, Lebua, Plaza Athenee etc. The rate I got was 4590 THB (about 150 USD) including taxes but without breakfast. Le Meridien is located on Surawong road in the Silom area so getting to the hotel took a bit of time with a taxi in the Friday afternoon traffic of Bangkok – but we decided to use taxi as it is not very practically to drag around big suitcases on the airport express train and skytrain/subway. The taxi was about 500 Baht including the toll stations on the express way.
When checking in we were informed that the room we had booked (corner room) was not available and instead we had been upgraded to a corner suite – not the worst message one can get when checking in at a hotel We got our keys, vouchers for a free drink at Bamboo Chic and our suitcases were sent to our room. We got room 1124 and it was quite a room to say the least. When we walked in we were met by some sort of book shelf but behind this was a living room with two sofas with a table, a large flat screen TV, a work desk and even an espresso machine – we had the option of espresso, regular coffee (in a press mug) and there were even takeaway cups – how cool is that?.
The room was tastefully decorated with books about Thailand in the bookshelf and with pieces of art scattered around in the room. The room was tiled with black tiles on the floor to start with but the rest of the room was with a yellowish carpet. The work desk had a large phone with a display that greeted us welcome – not that we used it much. From the living room there was a large window facing to Rama IV road leading to Hua Lamphong train station. The room also included a small fridge with various cold drinks and there were also proper glasses if you wanted to enjoy any of the drinks.
From the living room there was a sliding door leading into the large bed room. In here there was a large bed of course which turned out to be very comfortable with one large duvet and 4 pillows. There was also a TV for the bedroom and in this room we also found the mini safe. There was also a chair by the windows with the same view as for the living room. The windows had electrical day and night blinds. A new sliding door took us into the bath room and it was also possible to slide away most of the wall that was separating the bed room and the bath room. In the bath room there were black tiles on the floor and walls and we also had a bath tub, two sinks, lots of amenities ranging from shower caps, mouth wash, dental kit etc etc. A glass door led into the large shower with two separate shower parts…each part had a regular shower and a rain forest shower head option. The shower was all done in black tiles so it was a bit on the dark side – I would have loved to see lighter tiles here. The toilet was separated from the rest of the bath room with a door made with frosted glass – an excellent solution.
Some of the walls turned out to be not just walls in the bath room – some turned out to be the wardrobe with nice fluffy bathrobes and soft slippers and the other contained an iron. One even turned out to be a sliding door which opened up into the living room.
The breakfast was served at Last recipe on the 2 floor and as it was not included we had to pay. The full buffet was 650 Baht (22 USD) so there was no point in just going for continental breakfast as that was 550 Baht. The breakfast selection was excellent as you would expect from a 5 star hotel – a good selection of bread, cereal, fruit etc. But there was also stations with staff that could make omelets, carve up meat, scoop up some frozen yogurt for you and there were also various selection of hot food. In some of the reviews on TripAdvisor the breakfast buffet has been described as the best in town so naturally we had high expectations but after having stayed at other nice 5 star hotels (like Sheraton on Sukhumvit and Plaza Athenee) I don’t think this was any better than what the others have to offer. Nikki was missing hard boiled eggs, she was not that impressed with the watermelon but she was impressed with the option of fresh waffles and that it was possible to get some funky smoothie blends. And it was nice twist with the Illy press filter coffee that was served at our table. We also stopped by Bamboo chic briefly to have an aperitif before going out one evening and it looked like a nice place.
The location of the hotel is not bad – located on Surawong road it is about a 10 minute walk from Sala Daeng BTS station and you can also walk a couple of more minutes to Silom subway station. But note that the most direct route leads you straight through Patpong – maybe one of the most famous red light districts in the world and certainly the most know red light area in Bangkok. Today there is also a night bazaar and if you walk in the middle of this and keep your eyes focused on this you might be able to avoid seeing all the neon lights. But trust me…you will get asked if you want to see ping pong shows or if you want to buy various movies.
Conclusion: well, it is hard to really give an accurate conclusion as we were upgraded to a corner suite and that turned out to be just an amazing room. I really think the layout of this room is one of the best layouts that I have seen in a hotel room and I loved the larger double shower. Special treats like a coffee machine, lots and lots of complimentary water etc made this into a very comfortable stay. But I can also mention a couple of things that I don’t like – I would have liked to see free internet in the room. We were actually informed when we called the first day that it was included but when it didn’t work the second day we got the opposite message. There was free internet in the lobby but it required a user name and password from the concierge and he seemed to only activate it upon request. Another thing that turned out to be a challenge was the air con – there was a separate air con in the living room and the bed room but we could never really figure it out and it was always freezing in the living room. But these are just details of course – all in all this was one of the best hotel rooms that I have ever stayed in. I have also uploaded a video showing the room by the way.
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures
Here is also a video that I took of the room…enjoy
I have never experienced something like this on a plane but I would probably pay close attention to the safety instruction if it was done in this way. Something for SAS to try out maybe??
24 hours timelapse of the Pulpit rock (Preikestolen) near Stavanger in Norway. I have been there many times as you can see here: http://gardkarlsen.com/preikestolen.htm . Thanks to O-fagspatruljen for posting this on Youtube
When we went to Berlin in March/April 2010 we decided to try out a Trabi Safari – that means that you get to drive your very own Trabant (read more about the car on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant ) around in Berlin while the guides in the lead car talk about Berlin and the sights via radio as you drive. The special thing about the Trabant is the gear system and in the beginning of the video Nikki explains how to shift gears We did our tour with Trabi Safari (see http://www.trabi-safari.de/ )