Travel to Gua Niah!

So the story of the week will be about my trip to Niah! Just gonna give a heads up that the pictures taken weren’t of the besssst quality, just want to give my readers a sense of the highlight of my week.

So the reason behind going to Niah was because… my friends from KL and Brunei came to visit! ūüôÜūüŹĽ They are my crazy board game freak gang, and they are the most entertaining group of friends I have (sorry everyone else, hehe). But basically had to bring them to Miri’s iconic cave: Gua Niah. 

Travel details:

  • By car from Miri city center; around 1.5 to 2 hours. Depending on the traffic (big lorries on a one lane roads, which is most of the time)
  • Entrance fee: RM10 for locals (if locals bringing foreigners, it is also RM10 each). RM20 for foreigners.
  • RM 1 for a boat ride across a small river to the other side. Not forgetting another RM1 to cross back as well at the end!
  • Drinks and souvenirs are sold mid trail. (Quite pricey, RM3 per can drink)
  • Some areas require torches (Phone flash would be sufficient, if you’re just into casual caving).

Hmm, those are really the only 5 points about what to look out for prior to going. But other than that, I shall story tell my experience. So basically, the road to Niah, was a very easy one. Just one STRAIGHT road all the way to the Niah area, then there will be signs to Niah National Park on the way. May be hard to see, so trust google maps! Just in case you miss any roads. The road itself is slightly bumpy, so brace your car. And you will be so annoyed with the lorries slowly driving on these roads, and needing to cut them. So PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN CUTTING! 

Niah’s cave trail is very VERY easy for all ages. We arrived at 10.15am and left Niah at about 1.30pm. But this is just exploring only Traders Cave. If you were to go further into Painting Caves, then you can add another 1 hour to the timing. If you’ve never been to a cave before, Niah would be a good start to get a small feel at how a cave is like ūüôā but overall it was a chilled walk in a cave. 


Before the walk photo!










After the Walk Photo!

It was an overall fun experience! Hope these boys enjoyed themselves! Because I did! The nature and the conversations we had during the walk (not to mention exercised too!) was a fun activity to do in boring little Miri. Be one with nature.

After the walk, we went to eat my favourite dish after Niah-ing. TUTU FISH or IKAN BERTUTU! Bekenu town has a restaurant called “Sing Chiong Restaurant” that rares tutu fishes. Basically they are freshwater fish that has meat that is soft like tofu. It is really a MUST eat if you are done with Niah, and finding food on the way back.

Type this address on google to find it: “Sing Chiong Restaurant, Kampung Keluru Jaya, 98150 Bekenu, Sarawak, Malaysia”

It was an amazing lunch!

Shall end the blog here now guys! Hope you enjoyed reading it. More next week!

Special shoutout to Teng: for my early birthday present! Love it! (Not the munchkin)


Courier Shipping to Malaysia (Sarawak) from the UK Experience

As most students that goes abroad to study encounter this crazy burden of shipping 3 or 4 years of clothes, books, keepsakes and etc. Students would have loads of questions about: Which courier to use, how fast will it arrive, is it safe?

So, I have decided to create this blog post of my whole experience from boxing to un-boxing of my things and hopefully be able to help students everywhere. Just FYI, I am not sponsored to this specific service I’m using, so it would be an honest review and experience.

Additional information:

From: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
To: Miri, Malaysia
Amount: 3 boxes, 18x18x30 inches
Service: Shipping2Malaysia

  1. Ordering Packaging boxes (03/07/16)

Using the shipping2malaysia website, It’s very straight forward to navigate. The tab “Free boxes” says it all. There are two sizes to choose from:

  1. Maxi: 18x18x30 inches (max weight 40kg)
  2. Midi: 18x18x20 inches (max weight 30kg)

Link to that page, click here


After entering all your details, you would merely just get this confirmation page like this after you click submit!


They will then send you an additional email confirming that you have requested for the free boxes, and a reminder that there will be a deposit to be made for these boxes. The unused boxes will then be reclaimed back when the delivery is taking place, with the deposit being deducted from your total cost.

    2.    Receiving a text a day before the delivery date of the boxes. (11/07/16)

So after 6 working days, I received a text from Shipping2Malaysia that the boxes are coming the next day with a 3 hour window. The reply to them required was either a yes or a no on my availability of collecting the box.

Now, the situation is, I was NOT available for collection on that day, so I replied “no” to the text message, thinking that they will probably arrange for another day for sending the boxes. HOWEVER, they did not send any reply after my “no” reply. Until I emailed them enquiring.

Apparently, if you miss the delivery of the boxes or unable to collect it at the time that was set, you are required to REBOOK your boxes, which will take another 7 working days to arrive in your designated location.

   3.    Reordered box (14/07/16)

My housemate reordered another set of box a day or two after me. It was to the same house, so we shall see if it would arrive on the same date. Unfortunately, they emailed my housemate to say that they had no more maxi boxes in stock, so he had to get the midi boxes or expect the boxes to arrive in another 2 weeks. Unable to wait, housemate had to take the midi boxes instead.

   4.   Receiving the text (21/07/16)

Received the text 6 working days after placing the order. The box arrival was due between 4pm to 7pm. Housemate received the same text!

   5.   Box arrival (22/07/16)

The box arrived at around 6pm¬†outside my house.¬†The attitude of the driver¬†was unsatisfying, he was in a rush and was rude to me and my housemate.¬†He was nice enough to let my housemate have the spare maxi box he had in his truck. Why I said he was rude is because when I miscalculated the number of boxes we had (the midi boxes were smaller in size so I didn’t see them), I wanted him to recheck the number of boxes for me. He reluctantly came to count them, and when he counted them correctly and me realising that a missed the midi box, he replied “Betul ba! Apa Salah???”. Not only that, when my housemate was just looking over the deposit receipt thoroughly before signing the consent form, the driver¬†said “Cepatlah!”.¬†That attitude and¬†tone was unacceptable and unsatisfying because the fact that we are in a country with people that are really polite and full of mannerism. Well it irritated me anyway.

   6.   Box sizes

A comment that I’d like to give about the box is that it is very tall and deep.So if you were planning to bring anything¬†horizontal back, it would have to fit in vertically. But I was quite satisfied with the boxes as I used vacuum storage bags for my clothes so it doesn’t take up much space.

7. Courier Box collection (01/08/16)

I needed my box to come before the 3rd of August, but “10 working day” service may be cutting ¬†bit too close for me AND I was worried that they may come too early within that 10 working days and I won’t be ready with my boxes yet. So I chose the¬†premier service,¬†which came on the day that I selected.

8. Courier Box Arrival (26/10/16)

So it arrived 87 days to Miri, Sarawak, which is almost 3 months! I am quite impressed that it did arrive when it said it would. All the items in the box were intact and perfect, no breaks or leaks or smells. However, a comment would be that the tape that Shipping to Malaysia supplied is not very strong, so tip to do quite a few layers of the tape OR get a stronger one. The box was a bit battered from the trip, as you can see in the pictures. Because it gets slightly deformed, the tape would get loosen and people would have access to your boxes easily, so take note of that.

Anyway, I’ll end this blog here! If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a comment!


How to get away with Murder…

Hey Guys!

I have been MIA for MONTHS now I know. Just an update on my life.
For Winter Break I went back home to Malaysia as a surprise for my family (excluding my dad). It was a great experience and a HUGE SUCCESS! The important people that I wanted to surprise was my mum and my grandpa. Both of them had no idea I was coming back for Christmas and New Years! It was a very homely, warm winter break for me in 2015. It would be the only time I could actually surprise them coming back for christmas break anyway because it’s my last year in the UK.

I got really into playing board games during the break as well. Inspired to create a business plan in having a BOARD GAME Cafe in Miri with my childhood buddies in the future. It would be the best side-career project! If anyone of you that so happen come across this post from MIRI or Malaysia, feel free to come, talk and advise me about doing this type of business. Retail, Food and Game Services.

Currently also having exams (6 papers) this month!¬†So I am pretty stressed, but that gives me another reason to play Dota during the night! #Badass. Anyway, I am currently addicted to a relatively new series called “How to Get Away with Murder”. It isn’t as gorey as the title may imply the series to be. It is actually about lawyers and how they can seem to “get away” with it. If anyone shares the same interest and have already watched this series, GIVE ME A SHOUT! I need someone to rant with! PRONTO. The boyfriend doesn’t like to watch series that has a need to remember previous episodes. I think it just wastes his brain space. AH WELL. Rant over.

Remember to check the series out!




Guide to UK Student Visa Application for Malaysians!

Hi Guys! It has been a really long while since I’ve blogged about something useful! So I am constructing an easy to understand guide to applying for a UK Student Visa (Tier 4) for Malaysians. This type of visa applies to all new incoming students studying in the UK for more than 6 months, which includes students applying for their masters course (which is my case). I am blogging about this because I get really paranoid at systems like this and would try to refer to as many articles or blogs about experiences on the Visa process. So I thought of doing my own version to add on to many others out there!

So, for my situation, I just graduated with a degree in July 2015, and aiming to apply for my visa to start my Masters degree in UK in the coming Sept 2015 batch. So in between that time, I was required to apply for a UK PBS (Point Based System) Student Tier 4 Visa.

So first things first, How do you start your Visa application?

  1. Make an Online application on this website here >> https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome
    This is where you complete your application online, (this replaces the Appendix 8 in the past), Make sure you answer all the questions as truthfully as you can, this will help in your process. So you register for an account, complete the application, then you would be directed to the payment page. The Visa application would not be completed until you have made your payment.
  2. Book an Appointment. The system will let you book up to 1 month in advance, no more than that. Plus, you would need to book at least 48 hours in advance. You are also able to change your booking anytime before 48 hours of your initial booking date. Like me, I changed my booking details at least 5 times, which is fine!
  3. Next, Would be the IHS payment. This is also within the online application page. Basically, NHS in the UK requires all international students to pay a Medical Fee that is mandatory to obtain a visa. After paying for the IHS fee, PRINT YOUR RECEIPT of your payment to show on your application day.\
  4. Then you are done with this page online application page.** Tip**
    Print out all of your receipts and confirmation emails for all payments you made online for proof of payment.The finished online application would look like this:

Screenshot 2015-08-17 11.28.56 copy

List of things needed printed out for the application day from this online application:

1. Printed version of your online application
2. Payment information for Visa (515USD)
3. IHS Reference number (email form is fine)
4. IHS payment confirmation
5. Booking reference details (With GWFxxxxxxxx reference number)
UK Visa application Malaysia also provides User Pay Services, which basically means extra cost for extra services. The website >> http://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/malaysia/user_pay_services.html
The User Pay Services include:

1. Premium Lounge Service (RM 186) РPersonalised assisted service with no queueing, with comfort and privacy, personalised attention and service during the submission and biometric process, free refreshments and snacks, free courier pass-back, free photocopying, free sms and email alerts. It is only available in KL. (To be honest, it might be worth it if you are in a rush, but on normal days, having a booking appointment would be sufficient to get your visa submitted in less than 2 hours? My appointment was at 12.30pm, but I was there at 11.45am, I was done with the whole process at 1.15pm)

2. Priority visa service (RM 744) РThis service is to place the visa application in the front of the queue. Under normal circumstances, the visa would be processed in 3-5 working days. However that does not include the time it takes to courier it back to your destination. This does NOT guarantee a successful visa application and the priority visa fee will not be refunded. (In my case, I used priority visa and had it couriered back to Miri, Sarawak I did my visa application on 14/08 Fri and it arrived in Miri on 21/08 Fri, which made it a total of 5 working days including courier service)

3. Sarawak & Sabah submission (RM 366) –¬†Basically its a Temporary Enrolment Location (TEL) service which allows applicants to submit their UK visa application and biometric data using the facilities in Sabah and Sarawak. The fee covers the courier shipments back to your preferred mailing address. However, this service is only available during busy period in the summer.
The Regional Office of VISI L.A Security,  
Block G, Lot No. 53, Room B,
1st Floor, Lintas Square,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
1st Floor, BF 201,
Batu Kawah New Township,
Jalan Batu Kawah,
93250 Kuching,
**Please note that this TEL service are only available on specific dates and appointment has to be booked.

(I used this service in Sabah 3 years ago, 2012, because the flight tickets were cheaper that time to fly from Miri to KK. It is a very straight forward process. Just bring your documents and perform your biometrics, then it would be done. I would suggest you to be there probably half hour earlier just to speed up the process. But note that the waiting room is pretty small as well. Also, you have to be aware of the extra processing time slightly needed to courier it to KL for processing and THEN send it to the UKVI. So a slight time delay, but otherwise very recommendable for local East Malaysians.)

4. Prime time appointment service (RM 310) РThis service is only open in KL during the peak season, August to September. Basically it allows you not to book an appointment and walk-in to do your visa. (To be honest, not very worth the price. If you book an appointment, you would probably get it done just maybe half an hour later than the people who paid for this)

5. Courier service (RM 40)¬†– The fee is the same for any part of Malaysia, whether it be west or east Malaysia. The courier they used is ABX Express which will courier it back within 1 or 2 working days. (It is very reliable except they don’t leave a note if they have come to the house but they do call you. So just be wary.)

6. Photocopying service (RM 0.40 per page) РDitto. (DO NOT PAY FOR THIS, haha. There is a free service available at the appointment centre.)

7. SMS status tracking service (RM 8)¬†– SMS service with confirmation feedback sent to the applicant’s mobile at various stages of the visa application process followed with an automated email message.¬†(NO, DO NOT GET THIS. It is not worth your money. I only received 2 messages in total from this service. It only tells you when it arrives in UKVI, and when it is done being processed. It just keeps you waiting and waiting. Not worth the stress really. Just wait for an email. Should be alright)

**All payment confirmation made on this website HAS to be printed out.¬†Most¬†importantly, the transaction confirmation number.¬†Without it, you¬†won’t be able to clarify that you have already paid and forced to pay at the counter, in CASH. They seem to have no system¬†to check for payments, so just be aware**

You would need a proper checklist of things you need to prepare for your application.

1. CAS Letter 
2. TB Certificate
3. Supporting documents as specified in the CAS Letter
4. Old/New passports
5. Supportive documents proving you have the sufficient funds to study in the UK
6. Recent passport picture
7. ATAS Certificate (Check if needed >> https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme)

I will explain all of it in detail below:

1. CAS Letter Р This is a letter from the University that confirms your place and acceptance into the University. It looks like this:

_CAS Statement-1
2. TB Certificate – You must be tested for TB if you want to come to the UK for more than 6 months and are from Malaysia. However, if you are coming back to the UK and have not left UK for more than 3 months, you will not be required to. If you are unsure (which was me at the time), Just do it anyway. Your test must be from a clinic apporved by the Home Office. They will not accept a TB test certificate from a clinic that has not been approved.
The approved clinics can be found on this link >> https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tuberculosis-test-for-a-uk-visa-clinics-in-malaysia/tuberculosis-testing-in-malaysia
I went to the Life Care Diagnostic Medical Central in KL because it is known for it’s same day report. Despite the opening hours being 8am – 5pm, they will only accept people walking in for visa TB test before 3.30pm. So I went there at 3.30pm being the last applicant, and receiving my TB cert at 4.55pm with a fee of RM220. All you have to do is bring your passport and a recent passport photo. When you’re there, you are required to fill in forms but the form has to be filled in WITHOUT any mistake. So be careful! I had to fill it in 3 times. If you fill the form more than 3 times, you have to pay RM1 per form after. *yikes*
OH! When you are done with the cert, the UK visa application requires you to have a photocopy version as well. But you can always do that at the application centre.
3. Supporting Documents

This differs from university to university because your entry requirements may be different. All you have to do is to compile the original and photocopies of documents as listed in your CAS for submission. If not, the documents are not necessary. In my CAS letter they only needed my Results Transcript from my degree (undergraduate) and they have already stated that I have done my degree in an “English Speaking Country” so my IELTS from 3 years ago wouldn’t be required. Prepare the original copies to be submitted along with your Visa Application. Sometimes, the CAS letter would state how much you have already paid to the school, like a deposit. So for the financials, you would not have to consider that amount but state the balance.

4. Old/New Passports

Self explanatory. If you have old passports that you have already returned to the offices when replacing the new one, Just state it in the online application form. Don’t worry if you don’t have the old passport with you.
5. Supportive documents proving you have the sufficient funds to study in the UK
This consists of a bank letter/reference that states your name, account number, amount in the bank, date of letter, and a statement that states that the money has been in the account for more than 28 days.

** As Malaysia is a low risk country, they may not ask you for these details. But during the online application, you will be needed to declare that you have these documents if they ask for it. So preparation for these documents would still be best. If you declare but unable to submit these documents, you would be risking a decline of your visa application and a breach of your declaration.**

6. Recent passport picture
Ditto – Not more than 1 month preferably and make sure that the size is within the regulation size with a white background and clear face.

7. ATAS Certificate (Check if needed >> https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme)

Mostly only Science Master and above degrees (MEng/MSc) would require this certificate. Advice is to apply for this as soon as you have confirmed your acceptance of your Uni. This may take 1 month or more to receive this certificate. So do it ASAP, because most University would only release your CAS AFTER you get your ATAS, which will give you less time to do your visa!! ASAP ASAP.

So that is the end of my post about UK visa! Hope this could help! ūüôā Feel free to ask any questions and I will try my best to answer them~
Signing off now ūüôā