In part two of my company's team-building activity, I chose to go go-karting with my colleagues. Actually I was divided between that and paintball which I've never done either but since paintball is indoors, I decided on go-karting in the end.

We went to a go-kart circuit next to the Shah Alam run by City Karting Enterprise. I've driven by the place like a hundred times before but only got the chance to visit it only today. We arrive early in the morning and had the entire circuit to ourselves for the next two hours or so.

Before we drive the go-kart we were given the customary safety briefing and introduction to go-karting. Driving the go-kart itself is very easy and practically anybody can do it even those who had never driven before their entire life. You basically just control the gas pedal and the brake pedal and try not to hit anybody (or anything).

We get to try the smallest, 80cc kart which is quite small really and plush sized people would find it slightly difficult to fit in. The dress code is fairly simple - anything comfortable, pants, jeans and shoes. One thing for sure, your pants will get dirty from the grease so don't wear your favorite jeans!

My colleagues and I are divided into 4 main groups and 2 more sub-groups each. Each group chose a name for themselves and all chose a motorsport-themed name such as Ferrari, Sauber and BMW. For my group I suggested the Vivalution as in the lowly Perodua Viva and the Evolution monicker. Funnily enough my team members were cool with the idea so Vivalution it is.

The program for the day was an 80 minutes endurance race which means each group members will take turn to drive the go-cart until the whole 80 minutes is up. During the practise and qualifying session, my group lead the pack with one of my team members clocking the fastest time. Not bad for a group with one guy and all girls.

For the actual race, I volunteered to be the first driver and was tasked to drive the first 10 minutes of the race which I did about 8 laps and took pole-position.

The rest of the race however, my group dropped to 2nd since not everybody drove as fast as some of us did. But that's okay. It's not all about winning the race. Most of us do it for the fun, thrill and experience.

Driving a go-kart gave me a little taste of F1 racing albeit in a smaller scale. The similarities are there though and most if not all Formula 1 drivers begin their racing career from go-karting anyway. For once I can drive as fast as I could without worrying about speed limits or worry about accidents.

I especially enjoy negotiating the curves at high speed and since the center of gravity of the car is very low, there's no danger of overturning.

Overall, go-karting was a fun and exciting experience for me and my colleagues. I'd definitely recommend this activity for everyone to try at least once in their lifetime. The price for each session varies from one place to another but at City Karting it starts from RM35 for 10 minutes of racing (a bit steep, I know). Still, the experience is valuable and more than worth it.

They also provide special package for corporate karting like the one that we had. Head on to their website to find out more about City Karting.

Skytrex Adventure

The school I work at is having a two week Easter break right now and my company has planned some fun-filled activities for all their staff. We get to choose from several different activities such as paintball, bowling, go-kart, cooking and Skytrex adventure. We get to choose two activities each and being the adventurous guy that I am, I chose Skytrex and go-kart.

To be honest I've never heard of Skytrex Adventure before. This is my first time there and looking at the pictures from the website, they looked harmless enough. I mean what could be so hard about trying a few flying foxes and walking on the walkways amongst the trees right?

Skytrex Adventure is located in Taman Pertanian Malaysia (Malaysia Agriculture Park) in Shah Alam. It's situated next to the Shah Alam city center so it's pretty accessible to the public. Once you get to the park entrance, you will take a short bus trip to the Skytrex site.

The first thing you do is to sign the indemnity form. It basically says while they have taken every safety precaution necessary, they are not responsible for anything bad that might happen to you while doing the activities (as always). If you brought a bag pack or anything valuable along, you'll have to store them in the locker provided. The fee is 1 ringgit with 5 ringgit refundable deposit. If you didn't bring any gloves, you can purchase one for 3 ringgit at the counter. Advanced climbers may find the gloves unnecessary but for beginners like you and me, it is highly recommended.

You will then be supplied with a half-body harness for the activities. Wear something comfortable and of course shoes. Mosquitoes are aplenty so wearing long pants or track suits is recommended. It's going to be really hot and humid on the trees and you're gonna sweat profusely. Take along at least a bottle of water to keep yourself cool and hydrated. They do sell cold drinks and water at the counter. For RM2 per can, they're surprisingly affordable too.

Next you will attend the all important introduction and safety briefing by the instructor. He will guide you how to use the harness, carabiners and pulley. Pay attention because those are really important.

After a trial climb and a short flying fox down a low tree, you'll begin with the real adventure. First stop, a lengthy climb up a 14 meters ladder. That's where the challenge start. Climbing the high ladder looks easy at first but once you're halfway up, your arms will start to tire and you'll wish you're safely down below. Doing the activities at Skytrex does require some upper body strength aside from stamina so if you haven't been working out at all, you will find Skytrex Adventure really hard and challenging.

I myself was not spared of the hardship. My arms started to ache halfway up the first tree, probably because I took a break from my workout routines for weeks already. Still, I mustered every ounce of my energy to finish the 14 meters ascend. Apart from stamina, one must not be afraid of heights!(duh). While you are tied to the steel cable at all time, a peek down the trees could be terrifying to some. It does require some balls to be up there.

Our first challenge was walking along this net. I felt like walking on air. As a beginner, it was slightly scary to me but I soon learn that was nothing compared to the rest that we had to do next.

These wooden planks doesn't look sturdy at all but they are. By this time it gets a bit tougher for us. Maintaining our balance while making our way across.

This little swinging bridge is the hardest bit that we had to do. It may look easy from here but 20 meters up in the air, one little misstep and you'll be left dangling from the line. Scary stuff.

This challenge requires you to swing from one plank to the next. Looks difficult but it's not really.

This is another challenging activity that pushes your limit. The wooden planks sways so easily and you've really got to watch your balance while going across.

I must say flying fox is everybody's favorite part since it's the easiest. Gliding from one tree to another sure is fun. Some of them were over 100 meters long.

There's a maximum limit of any number of person that can stand at any particular platform so you'll have to wait in line for the room to be available. Usually it's 2 to 3 persons at one time on a single platform.

The view from top of the trees is quite breathtaking and lovely. However since your adrenaline is pumping most of the time, you don't get much chance to enjoy the scenery. Perhaps next time when I am more relaxed. Even taking pictures is a risk cause you'll never know if you accidentally dropped your phone or camera.

Skytrex Adventure is certainly not for everyone but if you've got at least a little bit of adventure inside and some courage you must really try it at least once in your lifetime. It requires a some stamina and bravery to do the challenges.

There are three main course in Skytrex Adventure - Little Adventure, Big Thrill and Extreme Challenge which differs in length and difficulty. My colleagues and I did half of the Little Adventure course today I think because of time constraints. Wish I could do all of them but what to do.

There's also a special course for children which features activities suited for beginners and the little ones.

I would definitely return here again someday to complete at least one of the courses (if not all).

Skytrex Adventure is open everyday for the public. On weekdays, you can only do group booking with a minimum of 25 people per group. There's no minimum number of pax on weekends. The rates starts from RM35 for Little Adventure up to RM55 for Extreme Challenge and you are advised to book online in advance . There's no guarantee of slot availabilities for walk in customers. With those really affordable prices, I would really recommend this Skytrex Adventure to everyone especially those with a flair for adventures adrenaline junkies.

For more information, do visit their website here.

GSC Signature Gold Class experience

A few weeks ago I was presented with two Gold Class vouchers to watch some movies at GSC Signature cinema at The Gardens shopping mall in KL. I've heard of GSC Signature's Gold Class exclusive boutique cinemas but I've never been inside one since obviously they're way too expensive for my budget.

So when a good friend of mine gifted me those tickets, I took my wife to experience the Gold Class cinema for ourselves this weekend. The regular price for these Gold Class tickets are RM70 each but we only pay 5 ringgit each for the 3D movie that we wanted to watch. The tickets got us a free complimentary drinks as well.

Once you purchased (or redeem) the tickets, you will then proceed to the food and beverage counter to order your food and beverage. There's a variety of food and drinks to choose from (and most of them are quite expensive, naturally) including liquor if you wish. We only had one large pop corn and I don't know whether because it's Gold Class, the pop corn tasted extra good in there.

After that, you get to relax at the Gold Class lounge before the movie starts. Most of the time there would be less than a dozen people lounging around since the cinema capacity is rather limited.

There are only 21 twin seats inside the cinema and the seats are not your regular cinema seats but a plush and comfortable reclining leather seats instead. You will also be provided with a blanket each since you know, it gets really cold in the cinema.

Before the movie starts, anything that you have ordered at the food and beverage counter shall be delivered to your seat. Should you require more food during the show, you just need to press the service button on the sofa and a waiter will come running to your assistance.

The cinema does get quite cold towards the middle of the movie but I suspect they turned down the air conditioning right at the end since it gets slightly warmer then. The movie that we picked was Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 3D which was good although I had a slight headache afterwards perhaps because of the 3D glasses. I don't think I want to watch anything 3D again after this. At least not at GSC.

I suppose for some really rich people, going to a regular crowded cinemas just won't do hence why they created something like GSC Signature. For 80% more than the regular cinema ticket price, you get to enjoy a more quiet, private and a little bit of luxurious movie-watching experience. For a regular Joe like me, this is one of those once in a blue moon opportunity so I really enjoyed the experience. If money is no object, I would definitely do this every other month. I would like to thank Joanna very much for the generous gift. Merci boucoup madame!

KL Bird Park

Who has been to the KL Bird Park? No? Me neither before last weekend! Yes, I've been living in the Klang valley for 15 years now and I only visited the renowned bird park recently. No worries, I plan to visit many more place of interest around time soon in the future.

KL Bird Park is located in the serene Lake Gardens area and it is only 10 minutes drive away from the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. It is the home to more than 3,000 birds of approximately 200 species of local and foreign birds.

Sprawling approximately 20.9 acres of verdant valley terrain, the park is divided into 4 zones; Zone 1 and 2 make up the free-flight zone; Zone 3 is the Hornbill Park and Zone 4 is where the birds are placed in separate cages and mini aviaries.

One of KL Bird Park's most extraordinary feature is that in Zone 1, 2 and 3, birds are let free in the aviary which closely resembles their natural habitat. With this free-flight concept, birds are able to breed naturally in this unique environment.

Reputed to be one of the largest in the world, this free-flight walk-in aviary features various bird species flying freely and living together in harmony and balance, creating a unique ecosystem of its own in this semi-natural environment.

One of the must visit attraction is the Waterfall Aviary, a picturesque set up of lush green trees and a 30-feet tall man-made waterfall, this mini aviary is also the sanctuary of Milky Storks, one of the vulnerable and highly protected bird species in Malaysia.

While the free-flying birds are great to see (and snap pictures), I can't help but feel sad for the rest of the birds who are caged in those aviaries. Wish they are let to roam free like the other birds. But I'm sure they have a pretty solid reason for keeping them in captivity that I don't know of. Perhaps they could be prey for the other birds or something. Yeah life is unfair like that.

KL Bird Park had also begun its breeding programmes since 2002. Various species of birds, both local and foreign, had successfully being bred in the park under the programme such as emus, various parrots, storks, pheasants, peacocks and fowls.

Some of the birds are really friendly and tame that you could literally feed them from your hands. I suppose they grew accustomed to all those visitors.

Why do I started to sound like a brochure? Well that's because I copied them exactly from their website! How lazy am I! But in all seriousness, KL Bird Park is a great place to visit and bring your family to. You get to see lots of birds, learn stuff about them. There's a little amphitheatre in the middle of the park where you can watch the scheduled bird show.

The facilities are good and adequate. You can stop by one of the stalls inside the park or the cafe next to the entrance although I must warn you the prices are rather steep. RM4.00 for a mineral water? Why don't they just sell nasi lemak for 15 ringgit or something? Oh wait, they do at the ridiculously expensive Hornbill Restaurant!

The park is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm in the admission fee for locals is RM25.00 (adult) and RM12.00 for kids 3 to 12 years old. This park is great for bird watchers or budding photographers (like me) because there's plenty of birds to watch and take pictures of. I wished the fees could be cheaper and the park itself not so commercialized (read expensive) but who am I kidding right? Still it's a beautiful and interesting place to visit, at least once in your life time.

Visit the official KL Bird Park website for more information.