Holiday at Avillion Admiral Cove Port Dickson

Earlier this month we had a mini family vacation in PD Negeri Sembilan. We stayed at Avillion Admiral Cove, and we chose this hotel more or less at random.

I visited the website and loved the rooms description, so we booked a room one week before and made our way there.

We arrived around 3pm on a Sunday, and found a parking spot in the covered car park.

Walking up to the lobby, we were greeted warmly and checked in promptly.

The studio room we stayed at costs RM250 a night. It had a comfy king sized bed which was clean, and had firm feather pillows. There is a ceiling fan above the bed.

Avillion Admiral Cove room

The studio room came with a mini-pantry area, which was great because we needed to prepare milk for Rachel.

From the next photo, you can also see the 32 inch LCD TV and air conditioner.

Behind me was another 10 feet or so of space where the wardrobe is. The room was really huge!

Avillion Admiral Cove room

Beside the bedroom (which can be partitioned off) there is a sofa / day bed.

Avillion Admiral Cove room - daybed!

Outside the room, you can see the PD marina. This is the view from the side windows.

Avillion Admiral Cove room view

This is the view from the front windows.

Avillion Admiral Cove room view

Avillion Admiral Cove room view

The hotel had a few facilities like a pool and a gym, but we didn’t make use of them.

Avillion Admiral Cove pool

You can walk over to the marina clubhouse and look at multi million dollar yachts.

Avillion Admiral Cove

Buffet breakfast is complimentary for room guests. The food is quite standard but still tasty. They served western and local food.

The menu is rotated so you don’t eat the same thing twice.

Avillion Admiral Cove breakfast buffet food

The hotel has a private beach, which is kind of deserted and relatively clean.

Avillion Admiral Cove beach

We visited a nearby ostrich farm, but I don’t recommend you visit it. There were sick-looking birds and nothing much to do (unless you paid more money for games or rides).

PD Ostrich Show

For our lunch and dinners, we went to eat at some of the restaurants nearby.

Two places we ate at, Kemang Seafood and Weng Yin Restaurant offered nice seafood without charging tourist prices. The prices are definitely cheaper than KL food prices.

We also had dinner at Sea View restaurant nearer to town. It was quite pricey (as in, KL restaurant pricing) but the view and atmosphere was amazing.

We really enjoyed our holiday at Avillion Admiral Cove. It was off-peak season, so the hotel service was great, and felt like we had the place exclusively to ourselves.

We’ll probably stay there again the next time we go to PD. We like the easy accessibility, close proximity of eating places, beautiful room, friendly staff and low density.

There’s nothing much to do in PD except eating and sea activities, but that’s okay if you like a quiet holiday.

Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Nikon Lens Review

Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Nikon LensNikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Nikon Lens

The Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX lens is a fast, sharp and large aperture lens at an affordable cost. This is the perfect lens for beginner photographers. If you ever asked yourself what lens to buy for your Nikon DSLR, this is the answer for you.

Why I Bought This Nikon 35mm Prime Lens

I bought this lens for my Nikon D40 because I was feeling frustrated every time I took photos with my kit lens.

Photos were either blurred, out of focus, or used such high ISO settings that it ended up with a lot of grain and noise.

I’m sure it was mostly my fault, and I probably didn’t know how to use the right settings.

This is the perfect lens for beginner photographers. If you ever asked yourself what lens to buy for your Nikon DSLR, this is the answer for you.

I came across an online article about prime lenses. It certainly made sense. I was attracted to the idea of getting sharp images and fast shutter speed.

I researched some more, and found that Nikon had just released a prime lens early this year.

Test Photo 1

It was perfect.

Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Features

The following are the main features of the prime lens (from the Nikon website):

  1. DX-format, normal single-focal-length lens with 35mm focal length.
  2. Large maximum aperture of f/1.8. A large aperture allows you to take photos with a shallow depth of field, which is great for portrait photography.
  3. Silent Wave Motor for smooth, quiet auto focus. The auto focus is fast! The AF-S designation means that the lens is compatible with cameras without a built in auto focus motor, like my D40.
  4. High-performance optical system with aspherical lens delivers superior reproduction capability. Does this enhance virility?
  5. Compact, well-balanced design when attached to small SLRs.
  6. Two focus modes available ?EUR” M/A (manual-priority autofocus) and M (manual focus). I just love M/A because it allows you to adjust the auto-focus if you don’t like what the camera chooses.
  7. Metal mount. I guess this means it is higher quality
  8. Natural blur effect thanks to seven-blade rounded diaphragm. It is easy to get a good bokeh effect.

Price

The list price for this lens is RM899, but I got it for RM825. If you shop around, I’m sure you can even get it for less.

It comes with a lens pouch and a shallow (about an inch) lens hood.

Personal Experience

I’ve been telling everyone who would listen, that I have no regrets at all.

The photos that I’ve taken are really beautiful, and it renews my amateur interest in photography.

I just love how it is so easy to take photos with this lens.

Test Photo 2

The Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G lens allows me to take clear indoor photos without flash. The images can be captured with a faster shutter speed meaning less blurring. The camera can use lower ISO settings, which results in less noise.

Prime lenses do not zoom, so that means I have to walk around and reposition myself quite a bit when taking photos (but that’s ok).

I find myself free to concentrate on composing the photos, rather than worrying about the technical details.

Summary

The Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX lens is one of the best-value prime lenses for Nikon DX digital SLR cameras.

I love how easy it is to create wonderful portrait photographs.

This lens is a good buy for those of us with entry-level DSLR, because it does not cost too much compared to other lenses.

It may not be suitable for those of you with higher end, full frame cameras. I think you need to get 50mm prime lens instead.

Discussion

Would you get a prime lens? Why or why not?

Do you have an experience to share?

Do you have any photography tips for an amateur like me?

I would love to hear from you in the comments!

[tags]Nikon, Nikkor, Lens, 35mm, f/1.8, Review, Photography[/tags]

Equatorial Hotel Melaka

During our last holiday in Melaka we stayed at the Equatorial Hotel.

I made reservations online which I think was a good deal because it came with F&B credit which we could use or use to offset the accommodation charges. It was an even better deal because we went during the off-peak season.

We got a standard room that faced the city and could hear all the sounds of the school next door. On one of the days they even had band practice.

I was so impressed that Poey Chin could name every instrument that was playing and could even tell me what they were supposed to play, and she could guess what the band was going to do based on the way the drummers played!

I never saw this side of her before…

This is the standard (deluxe) room, which looks smaller than we are used to, but comfortable nevertheless. The room was clean and everything we needed was provided for.

Comfortable sheets on a king-sized bed. How we miss that king-sized bed now!

Advice for couples: get a king-sized bed else once you have 1 or 2 babies, daddy will have to sleep on the floor.

This is the other half of the room.

Rachel got used to the bed pretty quickly…

I always check out the bathroom and toilet when I go into the room. This will tell you how clean the hotel room is, and I also want to make sure everything is working.

Mini bar area. Hot water flask, milk powder, Twisties, milk bottle, pineapple tarts and watch not included.

Who would buy any of these…

Especially if there was a shopping mall next door?

Staying at the Equatorial Hotel was really convenient because it was within walking distance to two shopping malls (Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan), Melaka Raya commercial district, Jonker Walk and Melaka historical sites like A-Famosa and the Malacca Sultanate museum.

Whether we were on holiday or not, we still have to go chasing after Rachel when she plays with things she’s not supposed to.

I want to go swimming, I want to go swimming!

We went for a swim at the beautiful hotel pool. There were three or four sections to the pool. Some areas for swimming, some for just sitting and chatting, a wading pool and a little aquarium pool for you to do dolphin tricks (don’t ask).

One thing I noticed about the staff at the hotel, they are well trained to be friendly. Everyone (and I mean everyone) will smile and greet you when you pass them, even the cleaners who are busy cleaning!

To sum up my experience…

Cleanliness: clean and no smoker smell. Comfort: what you would expect for the price. Service: friendly, courteous and helpful. Price: not a budget hotel, but affordable if you get a good package. Food: buffet breakfast was well stocked, fresh and delicious. Facilities: the pool was ‘interesting’, the pool changing room looks nicer than our room’s bathroom. Location: excellent.