Concubine Lane, Ipoh

15th May 2023

Had a really sound sleep last night, we had an American Breakfast and a Nasi Lemak this morning as part of the hotel rate, it was very nice. This hotel is only rated two star but I think it is excellent, I have stayed in much worse three star hotels.

French Hotel Ipoh Malaysia

French Hotel BreakfastFrench Hotel Breakfast

In the hotel foyer there was a set of pictures of important Malaysian figures carefully arranged according to their relative importance.

French Hotel

In the centre is the King and Queen of the country , they serve for 5 years then another Sultan takes over. Flanking them is the Perak State Sultan and his wife, then on the far right is the State’s Chief Minister and on the left is the Malaysian PM.

This morning we were better prepared directionwise and set off following Google maps – our journey took us across the river to a colonial part of town.

Sungai Kinta (Kinta River)Sungai Kinta (Kinta River)Sungai Kinta (Kinta River) Weir Control

It wasn’t a long walk but crossing roads was difficult at times, there are few pedestrian crossing points. I am sure if you are familiar with the town then it is easy but we had to go three sides of a very large square just to get safely from one side to the other on a few occasions.

We made a detour to have a look at the clock tower built in 1909 and came across an Indian (though probably Pakistani) food court, one thing I have developed a taste for over the years is their tea made with condensed milk (Teh Tarik).  We also had a snack of Apom with curry – sort of a pancake done in a wok so it is thicker in the middle.

Sultan Idris Shah MosqueClock Tower IpohApom

After eating we strolled to Concubine Lane (actually called Lorong Panglima or Panglima Alley). According to Malaysia Life there are two stories as to how the lane got it’s name:

There are two different explanations of where the name ‘Concubine Lane’ came from. One theory is that the street became known as Concubine Lane because this was the place where rich local business man Yao Tet Shin gave his mistress a house to live in. There is also ‘Wife Street’ in Ipoh which, so the story goes, is so called because this is where Yau Tet Shin gave his first wife a house to live in. The other theory is that Lorong Panglima became known as Concubine Lane because this was where rich local men and the British colonial administrators kept their mistresses. The common theme to both stories is that Concubine Lane is somewhere local men came to get up to things that they would rather their families didn’t know about.

Now it is a thriving, crowded tourist attraction full of small shops selling everything from jewellery to ice cream.

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Afterwards we wandered the town looking at the sights and the old buildings.


All this walking was thirsty work, called into a coffee house for a Caramel Latte and to enjoy the air con before continuing on.

Caramel Latte

Slowly made our way back to the hotel for a rest from the heat (which was pretty exhausting) before venturing out again for dinner in the early evening. It was hard to choose whether to return to the place we went last night or try a new spot, in the end it was Ipoh’s famous Chicken Rice that won out. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the Fishball soup that went with it, but personally I prefer the Chicken Rice elsewhere where the chicken is fried not boiled, I am not a fan of boiled meat like this (or steamboat).

Chicken RiceChicken Rice

Then it was back to the hotel after checking on the car – tomorrow we leave.

Drive to Ipoh

14th May 2023

Spend a bit of time yesterday evening packing for today’s trip to Ipoh, not that there was that much to do other than repack some laundry.

Set off about 8am with Mary driving, it actually rained quite a bit while she was driving, we stopped for toilet breaks, food and petrol on the way, I took over driving about half way. Except for the very last few kms it was all Tollway driving  and pretty easy.

We passed Ipoh as the hotel was on the south side of town so it was easier to drive past and come back to it rather than drive in the town traffic.

We were far too early to check in to the hotel anyway so had planned a side trip to Gua Kek Lok Tong. Gua means “cave” in Bahasa Malaysia. It appeared to be a very popular destination with both Muslims and Buddhists alike.

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After the visit to the cave I drove to the hotel in Ipoh, To be honest I have tried to avoid driving on local or town roads because their style of driving is quite different to what I am used to but it turned out OK and we found the hotel quite  easily and were able to check in straight away.

That evening we walked to Tong Sui Kai for a evening meal, after getting lost many times and ending up exhausting ourselves we finally found the place and enjoyed a really good meal. It was actually quite close to the hotel but we saw a lot of Ipoh night life as we wandered aimlessly around.

Curried Pork Noodles

Notice the fork stuck in the bowl, it’s as if they didn’t think I couldn’t use chop sticks.

ABC IceCurried Chicken NoodlesTong Sui Kai Ipoh Tong Sui Kai Ipoh

It was a really good meal but too much for us we should have ordered one bowl between us. We wandered back to the hotel very full and tired.

Wat Sukkhavutthalai

12th May 2023

Not a busy day, spend most of  it recovering from yesterday’s journey.

Lunch was a pork rice and sausages from a local store. Actually not bad.

By the late afternoon had recovered enough to go for  drive to a nearby newly renovated temple. We thought there might also be food available.

The temple was founded by Dato Chem, who is the only Malaysian to receive Buddhist relics from King Rama IX of Thailand.

Ke Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra MalaysiaKe Sukkhavutthalai Jitra Malaysia

For dinner it was one of my favourites – Char Kuey Teow – it turned out that the temple only had steamboat which was far too much for our appetite so we stopped on the way home for a takeaway.

Char Kuey Teow

Three Weeks in Malaysia

10th May 2023

A night flight so I caught the train from Wollongong after 5pm for the airport. I was surprised how full the train was, I suppose it was mostly people going home after work but there were a few with suitcases like me.

Changed trains for the airport at Wolli Creek with no hassle, only waited a few minutes for a train to take me the one stop to the International Terminal.

The counters for Malaysian Airlines were already open and operating when I arrived so I just joined the inevitable queue. When I finally arrived at the check in the girl put my suitcase through to Alor Setar and issued a boarding pass for the domestic flight so I didn’t have to worry about it at KL.

Boarding Pass

Went straight into Security and Passport Control where I was told to go into the queue for those needing assistance (??) That made everything pretty easy so then it was just a matter of waiting for the flight to be called.

All went well and the flight left a little late but not outrageously so. The flight was half empty so I moved to an empty pair of seats for a reasonably comfortable journey – not as lucky as some, they got all four of the seats in the centre.

The evening meal was just a sandwich and a beer (more than enough at that time of night).

11th May 2023

Slept sporadically until the lights came on at about 5am (Sydney time) and a meal was served – more than just a breakfast, Prawn Nasi Goreng, yogurt, fruit salad, roll and a drink.

The plane landed in KL about half an hour early. The little train that used to shuttle passengers between terminal C and the main building wasn’t working so passengers were transferred in  busses. I think one of the advantages of these smaller planes they use now is that there just aren’t the swarms of people trying to get anywhere.

Because I didn’t have a bag to collect I soon got through customs and immigration however I wasn’t in a rush because there was nearly 12 hours to wait for my domestic flight.

Killed time in the airport arrivals hall before making my way to level 5 for the domestic departure hall. While I was in the arrivals hall changed $100 into Malaysian ringgit – naturally the exchange rate was a rip off in the way only airports can manage – 2.67 Ringgit to the Aussie dollar.

As soon as I was in the domestic departure lounge found a quiet corner with lots of vacant chairs where I spread myself out and slept for a few hours until lunch time.

After a fairly good sleep I was hungry but there was plenty of choice for lunch but eventually went with  a Nasi Lemak and a cappuccino at the Noooodles Restaurant – Rm36 but can’t complain really, it is an airport – they all do it.

Nasi Lemak

After lunch wandered about, went to the observation lounge, watched them setting up for some impressive looking promotion later in the evening and even bought a coffee which costa more than it costa in Sydney.

Airport Coffee

This was followed by more sleeping, it was a very long day!


The flight to Alor Setar did eventually get called, it left half an hour late “due to service difficulties” but it is only an hour flight and you get a packet of peanuts to tide you over. This plane was full!

Possibly because it was so late, at the Alor Setar airport we had to use the stairs from the plane and walk across the tarmac, it is a surprisingly long walk to the arrival/baggage hall but after collecting my bag I, and a couple of others, had to go through a customs check, no complaints, they were very nice about it but I have never had to do that before.

Anyway at last I had arrived, it had been a very long day, I was glad to get out of the airport and the drive to Jitra.

Back Home

Date: 27th December 2022


Set my alarm for 5,30am to watch as we entered Sydney Harbour and make our way to the White Bay Terminal.

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After we docked I went for my breakfast, no exercise walk this morning.


There was plenty of time after breakfast to collect my bag from the cabin before 7.30am and make my way to Deck 7 to wait for my disembarkation time. Many comfortable chairs available as people left so I just read or watched the goings on around me as I waited. The time passed relatively quickly and soon there was a call for the “Orange 4” group to make their way to the gangway.

Thank goodness getting off the ship was not the hassle that getting on had been – had to find my luggage then queue to get through immigration, this was not well organised but at least the line moved steadily. P&O definitely need to improve their embarkation and disembarkation procedures.


Once outside found my way to the queue for the bus to Central Station, there was only a short wait, I was lucky to get on a bus pretty quickly and was soon going into Central Sydney. The only downside was that my train was on Platform 25 down in the bowels of the earth, many lifts and levels down

I caught the 10.30am train to Wollongong, unfortunately, being a public holiday, it stopped at every northern suburbs station but can’t complain about that too much, it just took about 20 minutes longer than normal to reach home.


As on my one and only previous cruse I enjoyed it more than I thought I would but again I would be surprised if I ever went on another cruise. Yet here we are! My previous cruise was with Carnival who also own P&O but it was like a different company.

Embarkation was absolute hell, it was horrible, a complete farce that was totally disorganised and ridiculous, I hope they improve on that – they certainly would have trouble doing any worse.

The one real disappointment on this cruise was the entertainment, it was at best very ordinary, I am talking about the theatre productions, the bar bands were much the same as before, pub bands of varying abilities but good enough. The Christmas Eve and Boxing Day shows were a big improvement but frankly they were the only good shows on the whole cruise, it should have been so much better.

The rest of the “free” shows, as I say, were very ordinary, less than an hour of one performer on stage, sometimes with a recorded backing track, if you wanted a “variety show” it was an extra fee which I thought was a bit over the top and a very poor way to go. I noticed other events that required an extra fee though they were (I think) mainly aimed at the younger passengers but I think it is a bad sign that these cruise lines are going to indulge in drip pricing, where there are a number of add on fees to the original cost of the cruise.

A minor irritation (because this annoys me on land too) – the only “ordinary” beer they stocked was VB in 375ml cans  for $9 each, all the other beer was in 330ml stubbies and cost at least $9.50. I think the Adventure Hotel was the only bar with draught beer (that might be incorrect). Personally I don’t like drinking from cans but they were always willing to give me a (sometimes) chilled glass to pour it into however I really object to 330ml bottles they are an absolute rip off.

Will I ever go on a cruise again? Who knows?

Vanuatu and New Calidonia

Boxing Day at Sea

Date: 26th December 2022


Usual breakfast and walk until 7.30am, still working up a good sweat even though the temperature is now only about 22 or 23°C

This is my last day without the Internet, many facts have had to go unverified over the last 10 days but normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

There was an event in the Marquee Theatre this morning with the cruise director explaining the procedures for disembarkation tomorrow morning. It was actually a publicity promotion for P&O because all he said of substance was that passengers will receive a letter telling them their meeting time and place, that their bags have to be outside their room by 8pm tonight and that the cabins must be vacated by 7.30am in the morning. I thought it was surprisingly poorly attended but perhaps everybody else knows what will happen tomorrow and realised that most of the content was publicity fluff.

Pacific Adventure - Disembarkation Talk

Sure enough when I returned to my room there was the disembarkation letter waiting for me, listing my group, my meeting time and place. The arrangements were actually different to the information I had previously been given regarding my transfer to Central (train) Station so I rang the Guest Services to check but was told just go by the letter.

Disembarkation Letter

I spent a little while filling out the “Incoming Passenger Card” and my baggage label then sorted out and packed my clothes into the suitcase. Set the alarm on my phone for 5am tomorrow, it might be a long day tomorrow being a public holiday so I want to make sure I get some breakfast.

Disembarkation Luggage

Soon it was about time for lunch, so it was off to the Pantry, where I had a blow out meal with a hot dog, chicken sandwich and some dessert. Well, it is the last lunch of the trip!


Not much planned for this arvo so just wandered about, plenty of passengers enjoying the sunshine around the swimming pools but there is definitely an end of voyage feel to things.

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I brought a couple of books with me on this trip and have read them both so now only have my faithful old Sony Ereader to read. I found carrying a book (or a hat) was a handy way of reserving a table when you go to the bar to get a drink or some more food, normally not a problem if there are two of you but by myself, if you leave the table for any reason when you return it has sometimes been taken by someone else unless you leave something behind.

Sat on my balcony for a while enjoying the sunshine, not that the view changes much with the land way over the horizon but it is very nice out there.

Pacific Adventure Balcony in the SunPacific Adventure Balcony in the Sun


Before going to dinner I put my bag out in the corridor to be collected for disembarkation tomorrow, I remembered to keep some clean clothes to wear in the morning.

Dinner tonight was in the Dragon Lady restaurant, as usual a decent enough meal but I felt rather full after my excessive lunch so possibly didn’t enjoy it as much as I should.

There was a show in the Marquee tonight called Musicology – it was a big improvement on the rest of their shows, I enjoyed it. Lots of singers, variety and a live band – how the shows should have been all along.

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Am up early in the morning so will give the rest of the evening’s entertainment a miss.

Pacific Adventure Voyage MapPacific Adventure Voyage Map

Christmas Day at Sea

Date: 25th December 2022


The sky was cloudy but the sun occasionally shone through however it is still warm and humid – high 20s or low 30s I would guess.

Had my usual cereal for breakfast before going for my walk. I passed all the usual suspects, when I say “passed” I mean those circumnavigating the ship in the opposite direction to me, those travelling in the same direction inevitably passed me Sad smile.

This is the first Christmas for years where I haven’t been setting up the BBQ or some tables for Christmas lunch. Am realising that tomorrow is the last day of this cruise and that I will be home on Tuesday.

I took a few pictures of my cabin for posterity.

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Today’s towel arrangement was even more bizarre than usual but did include a Christmas Card from the Captain. I can’t complain about the cabin or the steward, everything was kept spick and span.

Pacific Adventure Christmas Towel Arrangement


Lunch in The Pantry was quite special today, there were prawns and seafood though I stuck to sandwiches and a burger followed by an ice cream from the Ice cream place on deck 14 then wandered around the ship watching and enjoying the Christmas activities – that was basically my afternoon.


They did make a special effort with the evening meal with some Christmassy fare though I seemed to choose the least Christmassy of them all, a prawn and mango salad for entre followed by beef, bacon and mushroom pie with ice cream for dessert. I really enjoyed what I had, the Christmas stuff had too many green vegetables for my taste, the service was fast and efficient today.

After dinner in Angelo’s I wandered into the Blue Room for a beer while I waited for the evening show in The Marquee. It had a band and two ladies singing which was a bit of an improvement but to be frank the overall standard of the entertainment on this cruise has been pretty lacklustre.

Pacific Adventure Christmas ShowPacific Adventure Christmas Show

After 9pm I returned to the Blue Room to watch the Spicy Margaritas  for a while before bed. Recognised a couple of Michael Jackson songs but left when they took their break.

While I was in the Blue Room had a look at the cocktail menu, it seems to have quite a variety of cocktails if you like that sort of thing though personally I stuck with VB.

Pacific Adventure Cocktail Menu

It is noticeably cooler outdoors this evening, I would guess only in the low 20s.

Pacific Adventure Sunset

To be fair it was a better day than this blog would indicate, there was something happening all over the ship, I just didn’t take pictures of it.

Christmas Eve at Sea

Date: 24th December 3022


Because it is Christmas I treated myself to some yogurt as well as my usual cereal for breakfast Winking smile

Once again it is a cloudy morning but warm – 30°C at a guess, during my walk there was even a few spots of rain but nothing spectacular. I notice that my knee is hurting a bit so instead of the stairs at the stern of the boat I kept to the one level for the last couple of circuits. Out of interest I timed my regular morning walk – it takes five and a half minutes to do the circuit with the stairs. I usually see the same people every morning doing exactly the same thing (except they do it much faster).

The weather soon brightened up and I took a trip round the ship’s upper decks to get some photos before the rest of the passengers were fully awake.

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In this photo I have marked my cabin balcony with an X. It is taken from the top of the bridge (see first photo above).

Pacific Adventure My Cabin

The weather has been pretty good so far apart from the wet day in Noumea. As we are at sea the whole time until we reach Sydney the weather doesn’t really matter, in fact a storm would be interesting to see.


Went down to the Lobby to see the promised snow but it was packed. The weather meanwhile had gone from grey to brilliant sunshine and an almost cloudless sky. It was still a bit humid but the temperature is probably in the low 30s. Really nice on the upper ‘decks. I even lashed out on an ice cream.

All the swimming pools looked full as I walked past but the ship had picked up some interested flying visitors.

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I presume, but have no idea, that they are Albatrosses , they glided around the front of the ship for hours, I tried to take some pictures of them with very limited success. We are hundreds of kilometres from any land by now, heading SSW but currently still north of about Rockhampton


At Last!!! A proper variety show, Christmas themed (well, you can’t have everything Winking smile) three quarters of an hour of dancing and singing – about time too. They even used the snow making machine (I hadn’t missed much in the lobby) and had a singalong.

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BTW: All the photos taken in the theatre were taken with my phone so mediocre quality


Date: 23rd December 2022


When I woke at 6am the ship was still steaming along, I decided it was a good time to do a bit more washing but when I hung it out I found that it was quite windy and the sea had white caps.

Luganville Washing

After breakfast I had my usual walk, the wind had died down but it started to spot with rain, it was never heavy, more of a drizzle. I think it is just the overnight rain marking the beginning of the wet season.

Luganville Misty Wet MorningLuganville Misty Wet Morning

Oh yes, the ship does have a laundry service but I prefer to wash my own.

Laundry Invoice

As predicted the island of Santos was soon in sight and quickly all around us as the ship made its way to the dock. It is interesting that the ship seems to be able to turn in its own length using bow thrusters and (I presume) stern propellers  that can face any direction. On this occasion my cabin faced away from the dock.

Luganville Misty Wet Morning

After docking the weather started to clear and looked quite promising as blue sky appeared.

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The WWII Relics Tour

Went to lunch at 11.30 just to leave plenty of time to get off the ship for my Relics of WWII Tour.

Luganville Tour Ticket

The tour took place in three mini buses which was ideal compared to a coach, they stopped often for passengers to get out and hear all about the site, the driver of my bus was called Henry – a mine of information. about the island and its history

Luganville Relics Tour Buses

In some ways it was rather like an Australian small town’s historic tour where all the sites are of places long gone because, for example the wreck of the ship President Coolage was completely under the water but despite this I really enjoyed the tour. We stopped at some beautiful places with great views, the guides  gave interesting talks about the history of each place and why it was important. Finally we called in at a restaurant where we had a complimentary drink. Well, worth the money.

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After the tour returned to the ship at about 4pm, tired but happy. The cabin steward had left yet another of his weird towel arrangements.

Luganville Towel

Well, that is all my shore visits done, from when we cast off this evening it is all sea days heading south back to Sydney where we should arrive Monday morning.


Tonight I dined at Dragon Lady, I chose better for this evening’s meal last time I had Laksa, I don’t know why I chose it, I am not a fan of soup at all. This evening the meal was really good, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. The service was back to normal too.

There was a magic show on in the Marquee Theatre which I attended and enjoyed, the bloke was funny and a there was a lot of audience participation.

Pacific Adventure Show

I had intended to go to the Sit Down Comedy later in the evening but to be honest when the time came I was just so tired that I fell asleep in my cabin.

Today was a good day.

Port Vila

Date: 22nd December 2022


It was quite a shock this morning to look at my watch and realise that it was Thursday and that the cruise was into its 5th day already and that there were only five days left.

I was up as usual at 6am and having breakfast at 6.30 after which I spent 40 minutes pounding the decks pausing only to take the occasional photo as the ship entered harbour and docked in Port Vila.

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Port Vila was a stop on my previous cruise so I decided that I would not be going ashore today but would have a lazy day on the ship (ie much like most days aboard).

Spent a while in the morning washing some clothes in the cabin sink before hanging them on my make shift line on the balcony which could only enhance to reputation of P&O, I should have more than enough clean clothes to make it back to Sydney now (mind you I thought that a few days ago too).

Pacific Adventure Port Vila

Spent most of the morning reading with a couple of beers to help this along before taking lunch in The Pantry. I have just realised that there are two Pantrys, one on each side of the ship but only one is open at a time.

After lunch I returned to my now serviced cabin to sit on the balcony and watch the activity in the wharf below my cabin.

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Dinner was at Angelo’s Restaurant, unfortunately my table was poorly located with no one nearby to talk to but he meal was fairly good though to be honest I didn’t think there was enough choice and service was glacially slow, I was there for over an hour. Perhaps port visits slow everything down?

Pacific Adventure Angelo's

In a way the meal taking so long meant that the wait for my next event was less. I decided to go to the Maggie Scott performance in the Marquee Theatre at 7pm. By the time the show started I would say she had an audience of 50 people, probably with good reason, there was no backing band just recorded music so it was like Karaoke with a good singer.  To be honest I thought it was pretty dismal.

Pacific Adventure Port Vila- Marquee

After 9pm visited the Blue Room to listen to the band Solid Vibe, the girl has a nice voice but the songs she sings all sound the same to me. so I gave up after a few beers and sat on my balcony listening to Captain Beefheart on my head phones.

Pacific Adventure Port Vila -Blue Room