Honeymoon in Dungun

A long time ago after me and my wife got married, I promised to her that I would bring her to a honeymoon in Rantau Abang, Terengganu. However since I didn’t have a steady job and generally piss poor at that time, we had to settle for a night somewhere near Bagan Lalang, Sepang. Of course I have brought her to several nice places after that but still a promise is still a promise and mine is worth its value in gold (plus the fact that my wife casually brought up that promise every now and then). So this school holiday we packed our kids to my in laws and head on to Rantau Abang just the two of us.

The journey from Tanah Merah to Dungun took us just slightly over 2 hours via the trunk road and the lovely LPT highway. I had booked the chalet/guesthouse about a week earlier and looking at the blog it’s not very fancy. Just a basic house with a few room and very basic facilities. Still, it’s the closet place I could find near Rantau Abang online with affordable rates so, yeah. The place that I booked was actually near Pantai Sura in Dungun but that’s close enough I guess. When we arrived around 4 o'clock that evening the host promptly brought us to the guesthouse. He immediately apologized because he can’t put us in the room as advertised online because it was overbooked. I was like what the hell? but relented anyway cause it’s school holiday season and Christmas day and the odds of us finding another vacant place is like zero to none.

The host gave us a small room in a beach front property and the rest of the house is a occupied by a chinese family organizing a family day or a get together of some sort. He apologized again for the chinese crowd though I don’t really care what race they are as long as they kept the noise down and respect our privacy. The benefit of a beach front property is well the beach is only a short away. We literally just have to cross the road and there’s the beach. The bad news is, it’s December and the monsoon season so the sea and waves were to dangerous for anybody to go in. We hang around the beach instead and managed to catch a very beautiful sunset by the beach.

Time-lapse of morning sunrise in Pantai Sura, Dungun capture with Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 smartphone

For dinner we looked up on Foursquare for some recommendations. We found a few interesting places with good reviews but unfortunately all of them are closed, yes all the top 5 restaurants in Dungun are closed. They are probably closed because of the christmas holiday despite the fact there’s like twice as much crowd during public holidays. In the end we just picked some random restaurant by the beach for dinner. Just our luck the food was far from delicious and if not for the lovely evening sea view we wouldn’t have eaten there. After that since the night is still early, we decided to look for some other place for dessert and just chill. We finally found a decent food court somewhere near Dungun with naturally a much better food than the last one. We had some very delicious calamari and arguably the best coconut shake this side of the country. After that after our tummy are full and everybody is tired we did what people usually do during honeymoons, you know, go straight to sleep ;P

The next morning we woke up early meaning to catch the sunrise. As always, a sunrise by the beach is always beautiful and breathtaking. It would be a crime if you just sleep all through the morning and miss the sunrise whenever you’re at a beach side resort. For breakfast I drove around Dungun looking for a nice place to eat. Again Foursquare was not very helpful because the 2 eateries with the highest rating were guess what, closed as well. However unlike the night before, we chanced upon a really good eating place in Dungun just by the beach. Sorry I don’t recall the name of the eatery but it’s called kedai makan tepi pantai (beach side food stall) or something. The nasi kerabu and nasi dagang we had were good plus they were dirt cheap too, about RM2.50 each. After that we returned back to our room watched some Netflix and chill and then stopped by Rantau Abang beach for some sight-seeing. No there weren’t any turtles laying their eggs in the middle of the day plus it’s not their egg-laying season at the moment. Probably next time maybe. We did stop by the huge Rantau Abang sign to take pictures. After that we head straight back home.

Personally I had quite a good time in Dungun and I’m sure my wife felt the same way too. Sure we could have had a better place to stay but that’s for another time (or year). Dungun has so much potential as a tourist attraction. There’s miles and miles of beach with a lot of guesthouses but very few resorts or hotel. They should really do something about those rubbish strewn all over the beach though. It is really an eyesore and I don’t know whether it’s the local or tourist to be blamed for them but the local council just have to do something about it. For starters how about more rubbish bin and better enforcement? Food price are not so cheap at restaurants and eateries by the beach but if you looked around hard enough you’ll find a few with reasonable prices. Would we return again to Dungun? You betcha.

Sony Xperia Z1 Ultra review

Remember the time I got tired of using a 4 inch screen phones and decided to sell one of them? No? Well I did and I put it up for sell on Mudah and it got snapped up within hours. Who doesn’t want a perfectly good second hand 64GB iphone 5 on the cheap right? There I was, content with using one phone only.

Not. Ha ha.

You know I’ve got to have another backup phone since my iPhone can’t last the whole day without charging. So I looked around for my next smartphone, it’ll be an Android with at least 5" screen. After much research and reading reviews, I was set on Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 2 phone. It has a 5.5” screen, 16GB ROM and the design is quite nice. However as fate would have it, I decided to look around Mudah first before purchasing the Redmi Note. That’s when I caught my eye on the Sony Xperia Z1 Ultra, a massive 6.3” smartphone. Although second hand, it still looks good and the big screen is a major plus point. So I found one guy in Shah Alam wanting to sell his Xperia Z1 Ultra, we met up and before long I was a proud owner of a Sony Z1 Ultra. Or is it?

First impression: the screen was really huge. It barely fit my jeans pocket and I definitely need to use both hands to operate it. It has an SD card slot which curiously can support only up to 32GB. The first thing I did was attempt to root the phone so that I can move apps to the memory card. Unfortunately it seems that I don’t have much talent in rooting Android phones so after like a dozen tries I still didn’t manage to root the damn phone. So I gave up and resigned myself to use the standard Sony Xperia UI which is far from the best UI you can get for Android.

As I said the screen is huge so watching movies or video clips on the Z1 Ultra is a real pleasure. What else is good about the Z1? Hmm that’s about it. So why did I sell of the phone 3 days later? It’s the terrible camera. As you can see from the sample photos, terrible doesn’t even began to describe the pictures. When I first tested the phone, it was inside a restaurant and the lighting wasn’t that bright so I thought that’s why the pictures looked weird. However when I continued to use the phone’s camera for the next few days I came to the realisation that it’s not the low light, the Z1 just simply take shitty pictures. Either that or the unit that I bought already has a damaged camera module. I’m suspecting the latter.

A sight for sore eyes
Whatever it is I couldn’t bear the thought of using a smartphone with a wonky camera hence why I put it up for sale in less than 36 hours after I bought. To the poor fella that bought the Z1 Ultra, I’m sorry that you had to live with that crappy camera. If he’s wise, he’d sell it off just as quickly as I did. A few days later I ultimately bought the Redmi Note 2 phone. It’s a wonderful phone, miles better than the Z1 Ultra. So that’s the story how I bought and sold a phone within 36 hours. Do yourself a favor next time you plan to buy a secondhand phone - test the camera properly and thoroughly. Don’t make the same mistake as I have.