Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Night in Thumamah

Opening activity for our Jom Redah program, another night in Thumamah. This time with bigger participants, 5 families in total in 4 cars, we were headed to Thumamah at about 3.20 pm from our home. We stopped at the road side near to Camel Market on our way to Thumamah to buy some woods because we’re planning to have camp fire this time. It cots us SR8 for each bundle which consist only 3-4 piece of woods. We tried to bargain, but its already promotion price he said! According to him the woods coming all the way from Jizan, a fertile province near Yemen. Anyway, despite the price, we bought 8 bundles..

mknn unta

Camels food at the Camel Market on the way to Thumamah

1 ikat sr8

Bargaining for the woods.. no success.

sangkut dah Stucked already.

ditolong abg arab

Good Saudia is helping us.

setting up bbq

Our BBQ expert.

meriah camping‘Sejuk tapi meriah’   

surfing in the cold night

Sand surfing at the night.

pasir naik kepala

See? Sand on the head..

We reached Thumamah at 4.30 pm. The 1st activity here is of course, sand bashing. So Azman with his GMC Envoy 4.2 litres engine and Mohsin with his Jeep Commander 4.7 liters started to go off-road and entered the sandy fields. And as quickly as they went into the sands, as quick also they got stucked ;-)!

After struggling for couple of ten minutes trying to get our cars out from the sand, luckily we got help by a good Saudis. Azman’s car being pulled out by a Saudi using his powerful 4x4, while Mohsin being helped by some young Saudis. They gave a very good tips.. we need to lowered our tyre pressures down to 15 PSi. A good tips that we will follows…

As the day getting darker, we quickly find a spot to establish our camping site.

BBQing, sataying and camp firing in the weather that as low as 14 C are very good feeling activities, moreover spending time together with our family and friends. Kids as usual, less affected by the cold weather, keep having fun doing all sort of activities related to the sand… including putting some on their hair ;-)

8 bunches of woods apparently is not enough for our fire camping, so we went to buy another 8 bunches. There we go.. we spent SAR128 just for bunches of wood which may cost us nothing in Malaysia. But of course, we can’t compare ‘kurma’ with ‘durian’..

kids campfiremeriah jugakids playing

campfirebbq abissatay & lamp     

sembangtime togotime togo2 

We continue our camp fires activities and its ‘surrounding’ activities.. until 2.00 am! We almost stay overnight there if not because of we’re not well equipped for it this time. We will try again.. next time. We’re determined to do it one day..

Alhamdulillah, our JR 2nd season opening activity was a success.  More activities to come.. Winter season is still a long way to go. -th

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sepetang di Kuala Sepetang

October 2010

Udoh lame mike dengo citer pasal mee udang Kuale Sepetang ni, lame juge doh teringin nok pegi singgoh ke sane. Akhirnyo di suatu petang itu selepas 2 hari berlibur di Bukit Merah Laketown, dapat jue kami pi ke Kuale Sepetang.

Kuale Sepetang di waktu petang2 ni tak de la ape sangat, cuma mee udang dia tu la yang agak gah walaupun dengar katanya dah tak segah dulu. Dari kejauhan lagi (kira2 8-10km) dah ada sign board bg tau "Mee Udang Mak Jah 8km lagi", kemudian 1km lps tu, ada lagi "Mee Udang Mak Jah 7km". Lepaih 1km kemudian ada lagi dan lagi dan lagi… memang nampak gah sangat Mee Udang Mak Jah ni..

Sepanjang jln tu ada tak kurang 10 buah warung/restoran yang ada "Mee Udang". Ada yang masih tutop (mgkn beroperasi mlm aje), ada yang dah buke.

Kami lajak ke pekan Kuala Sepetang tu kejap, memang kecik jelah pekan dia. Dengo kate ade gak chalet Kuala Sepetang ni, tapi takdelah plan nak pegi.

Mak Jah Mee Udang

Lepaih tu kami pusing balik, dan singgahlah di "Mee Banjir Udang Mak Teh" menikmati makan petang a.k.a makan tengahari kami. Memang banjir udang dia.... Rasanya? Hmm.. 1st time kami makan mee udang seumpama ini, dengan banyoknya udang kebanjiran dalam mangkuk kami, sampe kena selak udang dulu baru jumpa mee. Memang kira bestlah. Cuma yang tak best tu cuma mee dia tu kureng sikit je. Yelah, mee dia kureng.. kureng apa? Kureng mee la.. Kalo lagi banyok mee dia lagi best sebab lagi kenyang la kami.


Dalam proses pemakananMee Udang Ternak RM7, Mee Udang Laut RM10


Nampak Udang JeMee Udang Takde Mee..

Keow Tee Takde UdangKuetiaw Takde Udang 

Mee Udang Kureng MeeMee Udang Kureng Mee

Nampak Ekor Udang jeMee Ekor Udang..

Sedap nyeeSedapnyeeee….

Pastu Pekena Milo AisPastu pekena milo ais..

Baru le bule tunjuk muka puas hatiPastu baru le bole tunjuk muka puas hati.

Mee Kulit UdangMenu yang paling spesel.. Mee Kulit Udang! Smile with tongue out

Overall, in summarynya ialah “Kami akan singgah lagi untuk main banjir udang, insyaAllah.” – th

Friday, May 07, 2010

Satu Malam di Thumamah

A new addition to our must do activities list, camping in Thumamah.

Last night, we almost did it but we’re hampered again with our new not so friendly friend, the sandstorm.

After a brief discussion with our Jom Redah partner, Mohd Azman of GMC, we agreed on going to Thumamah and hurrying to camp over night there. At first, it seems to be quite impossible especially with the wife is about 7 months pregnant and 4 kids, + 2 kids of Azmans.

Thumamah is one of the well known place among the Saudis and expatriate alike because of the beautiful red sand dune landscape. Among the activities there are dune bashing, riding a quad bike, camping, picnicking and eating ice-cream ;-)

But the wife said it is OK, she is ready and also would like to experience another camping adventures after 1st time experiencing it in our Rihlah to Oman about 5 months ago, which she was 2 months pregnant at that time.

So, yesterday Thursday, May 06 2010 after Asr prayer off we went to Thumamah which is about 50km from Riyadh. The journey took about 40 minutes.

Along the Thumamah road near the Camel Market, we saw there was still a lot of area ‘flooding’ with water. There were lorries, some fully loaded with with  stuff  and some empty were stucked in the water. And it was already 3 days since the heavy rain hit Riyadh. Can’t imagine how it was on that day itself.

IMG_9040Among the lorries that still stuck in the water.

IMG_9046 This pickup most probably almost fully covered by water on that historic heavy rain day.

We went to an area which were less crowded as we want to spent our time in a relaxing and peaceful manner. It was about 5km more from the 1st red sand dune area which were too crowded with people and activities.

IMG_9050 Azman’s car in front with the para glider on top.


Para glider in a close-up. Kids were very excited about it.


Stomach ache? No problem, as you can already imagine what we can do with this thing ;-) 


We took a few moments to explore the area and trying some “dune bashing” ourself. It was a very fun activites eventhough we’re not too inclined to do too much stunt.


Landscape of Thumamah red sand dune is amazing. Hopefully we can do 4x4 crossing dune activity one day. Should we include it into our 34 Must Do Activities list?

At about 6.30 pm, we settle down at one place on top of the desert over looking the Thumamah road. After some quick discussion on how to set-up our camping zone, we established the area in 20 minutes.

After Maghrib jemaah prayer, we started to prepare our dinner, chcikend and prwan BBQ (Nora) and chicken and beef satay (ourself)  with Kuah Kacaing (Nora). While sataying and BBQing, the wind bringing additional stuff and flavors into our dinner, the sand :-(


Kids are very excited when we said we will make a camp and stay overnight.


Azman was putting up the fire in a split second. See his BBQ set, how rusted the set is? That's showing how much experience he had in using the set.. thus in putting up the fire ;-)


We’re having a BBQ and satays  with additional flavors, sand flavors!

At about 10pm, suddenly the winds stops and we took the chance to feel the beauty of the sky, gazing at the stars that usually almost impossible to do it in Riyadh while continuing our chit chatting about life, experience, recipes, kids, etc. At the same time, our kids were busy playing with sands and whatever their activities.

But the calm moment doesn’t last long. After abut 15 minutes, we can feel the wind is coming again, this time in the different flows. We could see the thick clouds were approaching towards our area together with the wind.


Our kids happily playing with the sand even at 11pm!! Usually they’re already deep into their sleep by now.

DSC00648 Struggling in the storm to dismantle our tents.

At about 11.15pm, what we were worrying about came into reality. Sandstorm attack!!  Its almost the time when we were about to tell the kids to go to their ‘beds’, suddenly the wind becoming more and more strong.. which in turn bringing again, another sandstorm.

After about 15 minutes struggling in the howling winds and flying sands trying to dismantle our tents and getting our stuff back into the car, we finally made a journey home with a mixed feelings; sad, tired, happy.

Yet again at the end of the night we have another experience that we don’t want to forget. Having a chit-chat in the middle of the night with good friends, in the middle of the desert, while  sipping hot ‘teh tarik‘ (albeit too sweet ;-)), watching stars and blue sky… it was just a great feeling moment.

We reached home at about 12 midnight with the determination to try again next time. InsyaAllah, God willing we will have another “tick” in our target activities/places list. Till that time, ma’assalamah.. -th

Monday, April 26, 2010

Desert Rose Hunting (Memburu Bunga Padang Pasir)

Trip No: x
When:  23 April 2010
Where:  Dammam/Khobar, Saudi Arabia
GPS Coordinate:
Kambing Rating: 9/10
Total Trip Time: 2 days 1 night

desert rose

Our adventure activities continues. This time known with co-branded name "Jom Redah", we aimed to fulfill yet another one of our 34 places/activities target while in Saudi, Desert Rose Hunting.

Desert Rose, while sound like a kind of flower is actually a rosette like shape rocks/minerals formed undergrounds due to the interactions of the sands and sea water which evaporated; eventually causing salt deposition and crystal formation. To find Desert Roses we must dig down one to three feet into the wet sand in the areas known as Sabkhas. One of the known areas is near to Khobar/Dammam and that is our target.

Altogether 7 families in 5 4x4 cars took the challenge:
1. Bro. Khairul Effendy & Sis. Rufina
2. Bro. Fazli & Sis. Husna
3. Bro. Azman & Sis. Nora
4. Bro.Hisham & Sis. Ila
5. Bro. Harun & Sis. Ida
6. Bro. Fariz and Sis. Diana
7. Ourselves.

kumpul depan hotel Assembled in front of our hotel at 5.15 am


Loading stuff into our car

We assembled as early as 5.15 am in front of our hotel in Khobar. After making final preparation; loading stuff and foods/drinks into the car, we moved from the hotel at 5.30 am. The road was very calm and quiet at that time.

5 hero5 heroes of the day (Pajero, Traverse, Tahoe, Prado and Envoy)

Reached the excavation/digging site at about 6.45 am, immediately having all the fun searching, looking and digging for the 'precious' desert roses. We made a supposedly a short break for breakfast before continuing our hunting at 9.00am, but we were caught and forced to leave the site by a heavy sandstorm hastily.

gali jumpe ayaq 2 feet deep, we found water!

tabur The roses are everywhere!!

bonnet breakfastBonnet breakfast.

bfast Breakfast while we can..

Experiencing the sandstorm in the middle of the desert was another interesting experience for us. With the visibility of just 5-10 meters, strong howling winds bringing the sands and dusts onto the car's windows, while at the same time we need to carefully steering thru the thick soft sands and rocky road to ensure we didn't get stuck or hitting any camels ;-).. Wah, what an experience.

Alhamdulillah, we managed to go thru the sandstorm and the whole trip safely and reached the hotel at about 10.40am. Each families has been rewarded handsomely with box(es) and/or bag(s) of desert roses found in the desert, yet the most importantly were the chances to know new friends, and experience and a moment spent together with families and friends.. – th

For more pictures : Jom Redah: Desert Rose

More information: Preparations and planning for the trip

More information about Desert Rose.

Map picture

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Preparation for Desert Rose Hunting


Untuk meneruskan aktiviti sampingan kita berrihlah sambil berusrah, program "Sementara Ada Peluang, Jom Redah" kali ini ingin menjemput para sahabat semua untuk ke destinasi berikutnya untuk membuat aktiviti "Desert Rose Hunting". Bunyiknya macam mencari bunga pun ada, macam nak pergi berburu pun ada...

Apakah 'Desert Rose' ni?

Desert Rose sebenarnya adalah mineral/batu yang terbentuk daripada air garam di bawah tanah hasil pergerakan pasir bawah tanah yang membentuk seakan bunga ros.

"In Saudi Arabia Desert Roses are found in the flat brine-rich desert areas which are prevalent in the Eastern Province. A Desert Rose is made of gypsum crystals in connection with sand that crystallizes in a unique rosette growth pattern. Such crystals are formed when high tides bring seawater into the desert and the water becomes cut-off from the sea and evaporates, eventually causing salt deposition and crystal formation. To find Desert Roses you must dig down one to three feet into the wet sand. ("

Desert Rose cuma boleh dijumpai di beberapa tempat di dunia, antaranya: California, Mexico, Libya, Mesir dan Arab Saudi. (Dikatakan Qatar juga ada tempat Desert Rose ni, next trip bole plan gi Qatar, insyaAllah.)

Kita perlu menggali sedalam 1-3 kaki untuk menjumpai bunga ros ni. Tapi insyaAllah, kita bole juga berjumpa ros yang 'terjelma' di atas padang pasir hasil pergerakan pasir oleh tiupan angin dan juga ros2 yang ditinggalikan (kira reject tapi ada yang cantik katanya) oleh pemburu terdahulu.

So marilah kita sama2 memburu bunga ros ini untuk dibuat kenangan dan tanda kesampaian kita di Arab Saudi ni, dan yang utamanya sama2 kita mengkagumi salah satu ciptaan Ilahi di samping bersosial dan merapatkan silaturahim sesama kita.

Itenari cadangan adalah seperti berikut:
7.30 pagi     - Bertolak dari Riyadh
11.30 tgh hari  - Sampai Dammam/Khobar - lunch, solat, cari hotel, mandi?
2.30 petang  - bertolak ke lokasi Desert Rose
3.30 petang  -   sampai ke lokasi dan start mendigging atau mengutip
5.30 petang - preparation terakhir untuk bertolak keluar
6.00 petang - bertolak keluar

Itenari di atas masih di peringkat cadangan. Mungkin 2 jam masa menggali tak cukup. Mungkin jugak kita bole plan untuk menggali hari Jumaat pagi instead of petang Khamis. Boleh diberi cadangan dan idea.

Aktiviti malam dan hari seterusnya juga masih terbuka dan boleh dicadangkan.

Antara yang bole dilakukan:
1. Half Moon Bay - kena sampai la ke sini sekurang2nya sekali sepanjang dok kat Saudi
2. Pasar malam di Half Moon Bay - ada orang kata ada pasar malam kat situ setiap malam jumaat.
3. Berbabikiu - kat Half Moon Bay atau kat hotel yang dekat pantai (kalo kita dok kat hotel dekat pantai la)
4. Malaysian Kitchen Restoran - kalo nak rasa masakan Malaysia yang tak dimasak oleh isteri ;-)
5. Cross bridge yang hubungkang Saudi dan Bahrain (ntah apa nama crossway/bridge tu ntah, dah lupe) - Satu keter kena bayo SAR20 ke SAR25, satu lagi kelupaan berlaku.
6. Gi ke Fish market (kena banwak tong ais kalo nak beli ikan)
7. Apa lagi, memancing untuk kaum bapa sementara kaum ibu menganyam ketupat dan lepat...
8. etc

Alatan yang perlu dibawa:
1. Scoop/cangkul untuk menggali
2. Berus untuk sapu bunga rose
3. Baldi dan air untuk cuci (supaya kita bawak balik yang sudah cuci)
4. Diagalakkan juga dialas bonet kereta tu siap2 dengan plastik atau kain/etc supaya tak melekat pasiaq2 tu kat bonet, kang jenuh nak vacuum nanti..

Alatan yang elok dibawa:
1. Topi pelindung panas
2. Kacamat hitam pelindung cahaya dan untuk lebih nampak cool dan macho
2. Muka yang disapu pelindung UV
3. Khemah untuk berlindung (kalau ada)
4. Kotak atau bekas untuk isi bunga2 rose
5. Kain alas atau tisu tebal untuk alas bunga2 rose dlm kotak bagi mengelakkan rosak. (note- Desert Rose ini terbentuk dari garam galian, jadi walaupun nampak mcm keras, ia sebenarnya mudah hancur/rosak kalo terjatuh atau terhentak)

- Memandangkan kawasan 'memburu' adalah kawasan lapang (tiada pokok utk berlindung), musim yang sesuai adalah semestinya musim sejuk yang tak sejuk sangat. Memandangkan kita sudah di penghujung/memasuki musim panas, jadi minggu ini antara minggu yang paling sesuai. Minggu depan kita ada program Mukayyam Tarbaw untuk anok2 kita.
- Arab Saudi mengiystiharkan 'Desert Rose' merupakan 'national treasure', yang merupakan satu kesalahan membawa keluar ros padang pasir ni dari negara Saudi.
- Desert Rose ini ada dijual, satu website yang saya jumpa tu jual sekuntum pada harga USD550, wau...
- Perjalanan secara keseluruhan adalah bertar, melainkan kira2 10min perjalanan berpadang pasiaq. Kenderaan 4WD adalah lebih sesuai.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The sad moment.. they need to go back.

 After being almost 2 months here in Riyadh, 12 trips with about 12,000 kms in journey, 5000 photos and a few hours of videos, a few thousand riyals spent in various souq and markets ;-), it is now time for them to go back to Malaysia. Time was running fast, its almost unbelievable that 2 months has passed.

Overall, we feels proud and at the same time relief because our intention to bring them here and have them to perform Umrah and Ziarah and other activities has been fulfilled.

Bringing the here  is among our main target to be here. We will never going to feel satisfied if we do not fulfilled this intention.


It was a sad moment for us the whole family as we’re feeling very comfortable being here in the foreign land together with our parents, which have bringing us into this world.

At about 6.45pm. Saturday April 3rd 2010, our parents flew back to Malaysia with SIA. Hopefully they bring back a very good memory with them.

If we still be here and there is a ‘rizq’, we will bring them again next 2 years i.e. 2012, insyaAllah.