My Honda Hybrid Road Trip to Kota Bharu, Kelantan!

18 September 2013


Now this kinda invite is right up my alley - I get to review an awesome car and travel somewhere new? What's not to love?!

8 bloggers were chosen to be part of the Honda Hybrid Family for a road trip up to Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia last weekend - on Friday the 13th no less! (For those of you who don't know, Friday the 13th happens to be my favourite date - because I am a witch. (Some people like to spell that with a B, but potato, potahto! ;p))
Nizam & Ishak - Honda Jazz Hybrid
Syukri & Elwyn - Honda CR-Z (Automatic) Hybrid
Farid & Farisya - Honda CR-Z (Manual) Hybrid
Henry & Calista- Honda Civic Hybrid
I was paired with Henry to test drive the Honda Civic Hybrid, which I must say is definitely the Comfort Car of the group! The seats are very easy on the bum, even after a long 8 hour journey! And the engine is so smooth, we sometimes had to double check it was still running - it's so quiet!
Photo credits to Henry (aka Clever Munkey) who shot this when he picked up the car the day before! =)
I did however, upon special request, get to be passenger and driver in both CR-Zs as well though, and I must say the power of both the engines is definitely still alive and well in Hybrid form!

Our Honda CR-Z (Manual) Hybrid came in Violet Purple
The drive to Kelantan was a long one, so good company was definitely a plus! We met up around 6am at the McDonald's just before the Gombak toll booth and had breakfast. We would only see daylight upon reaching the Pahang border, and from there Farid and I took turns driving the 6-speed CR-Z manual til we reached Kuala Terengganu.

The Honda CR-Z (Auto) Hybrid in Milano Red, outside of the Istana gates in Kota Bharu
I'm not gonna lie, I was incredibly sleepy, as I had only slept a couple of hours the night before due to a photo shoot (more on that in another post!). After taking the automatic CR-Z for a spin from Kuala Terengganu to the Kelantan border, I passed the wheel back to Syukri, where the poor fella had to drive in silence while I snored my pretty little head off. (I didnt really snore though, did I Syukri? ;p)

We reached Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV, Kota Bharu at 2.10pm, just before the Honda Hybrid road show reopened at 2.30pm. Two pretty (and super friendly!) representatives took us around The Honda Hybrid Home before it reopened to the public, allowing us to explore the whole place before the crowds started pouring in.
Honda's Green Technology Milestones
Hybrid Discovery: The Power of Two
Video shown inside the Hybrid Home Theatre, by our very own Malaysian Youtuber, Jinnyboy!
Build Your Own Hybrid Challenge - I won a pen made out of recycled material cz I'm so smart! Lol.
Next, we found the Inspiration Zone, where 6 cars were on display, and willed us to ask questions, such as, What exactly is a Hybrid Car? How does it work? And how can it help save our environment?
Well, simply put, a hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two sources of power to drive the car: a small, efficient petrol engine and an electric motor. With the electric motor helping out, the petrol engine doesn't need to work as hard. And that means cleaner air, and enhanced fuel economy. [Source: Honda UK]
The interior of the Honda Civic Hybrid. Notice the green Econ button on the right? That's all you need to push to get from KL to Kelantan with a single tank of petrol!
The hybrid engine works just like the tandem bicycle in my The Power Of Two photo above: the electric motor is the second cyclist, assisting the first cyclist (the i-VTEC engine) to produce more power with less effort.
The Honda Civic Hybrid also uses keyless technology: to unlock the doors all you have to do is hold the remote close to the car and they will detect that you want to get into the car; to start or turn off the engine, there is a red stop/start button on the left, beside the steering wheel! No more digging around in your handbag before rushing into the safety of your car!
Other than the 4 cars previously mentioned, I also got to test drive the Honda Insight (which I had a small part in its corporate video!) at the road show itself.
Literally blink-and-you'll-miss-it at 1.35. No laughing, this was shot almost 3 years ago! ;p

To test drive, all you have to do is go over to the Ignite Zone, LIKE Honda's Facebook page, register your name and details, test drive your dream Honda Hybrid, and receive your mystery gift at the end of the drive!
Yes, in Kelantan most places will separate the guys and the gals.
My mystery gifts - exclusive Honda t-shirt and keychain!
Outside the Honda Hybrid Home, the road show stalls were in full swing.
Clockwise: Clowns twisting balloons, Bouncy castle, Row of stalls, Book donations, Sand art.
Official Honda merchandise - I think girls especially would look sexy in this t-shirt!
Part of the group! =D
I also checked out my body fat etc at the Herbalife booth. Big surprise (not): I have too much body fat. I better work on that when I go back to KK, especially if I wanna conquer that mountain!

Hot FM and Fly FM were the official radio stations of the road show, but unfortunately for us Friday is a holy day in Kelantan, and concerts are not allowed so we had to give it a miss as on Saturday we'd have to leave early for KL =(
It had been a long day so we went for an early-ish authentic Kelantanese dinner at a nearby pasar malam-type place:
Tom Yam Soup, Laksam, and my ultimate favourite: Nasi Kerabu (only RM3!)
*Tom Yam Soup because Kelantan borders Thailand, it was pretty good, though it cant fight with Phuket's yumminess.
**Wasnt such a big fan of Laksam, it tastes a bit like 猪肠粉, mostly flour with some sauce. Only RM1.50 though.
***Nasi Kerabu a traditional Malay dish, consisting of blue-coloured rice, with some kind of chicken floss (which I initially thought was powdered peanuts), vegetables and fish crackers. Usually eaten with fried fish or chicken, I had it with sliced beef and it was oh-so-fantastic!

The next morning we were up bright & early to get the most out of the day and see some Kelantanese heritage sites.
Pintu Gerbang Kota Sultan Ismail Petra (Sultan Ismail Petra Arch)
Just before you get into the main tourism area, you will see the great brown arches that serve as an entrance to the Istana Jahar. The arch was placed at the square to commemorate the declaration of Kota Bahru as a cultural city.

Built back in 1855 by Sultan Muhammad II for his grandson, the Jahar Palace used to be the royal residence of Kota Bharu. Nowadays, it has been preserved and houses the Museums of Royal Traditions and Customs of Kelantan.Looking at the luscious greenery surrounding the Istana, I was glad we were in equally green Hybrids!

Built in 1867, the state mosque of Kelantan is famous for spreading knowledge of the holy word of Islam and is known as the Veranda of Mecca.

We also made a stop at the Handicraft Village, where we got to see one of Malaysia's most recognised symbols - the Wau Bulan. Usually decorated with floral motifs, the crescent-shaped kite is usually large, strong-coloured, and flown by Kelantanese men.  

Art Class in the Handicraft Village
We came along a group of students taking photographs with beautiful batik, and found out they had just made them themselves at Zecsman Design, the local batik maker-cum-teacher. Syukri and I jumped at the chance to try our hand at this centuries-old art, but as soon as I sat down, I was apprehensive of what a mess I might make; I've never been the art student! It looked quite a mess as I went on as well - I kept joking with Syukri that he is not to talk to me because his was so nice hahaha.. Fortunately, after drying etc, my piece didnt come out as bad as I was expecting! *chuffed*

One last thing I just had to do before hitting the road back home (I drove all the way from Kuantan to Genting - through a crazy storm as well!), was checking how spacious the boot of each car was! Ready?
Honda Insight
Honda Jazz Hybrid
Honda CR-Z Hybrid
Honda Civic Hybrid!
So would you like to test drive a Honda Hybrid for 3 Days and 2 nights? Think of all the places you could go! And there's nothing better than test driving a good car on a long, straight highway *devil horns peeking through*
Visit the next road shows - you have 3 more chances to get that merch!
To find out how to get your hands on a Honda Civic, Honda Jazz, or Honda CR-Z for your next road trip, visit & like Honda's facebook page HERE, or go to this link for the low down on The Great Honda Hybrid Discovery!

Now, I wonder when Honda will let me test drive the all-new Accord for a road trip to my seventh Malaysian state, maybe.. Langkawi island..? I can't say I'd mind test driving from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching either! ;p

*Check out my wacky Instavids taken during the trip on my Instagram (@CalistaLeahLiew), or other photos I posted on my facebook page! =)
**You can also check out Elwyn's post for some random I-had-no-idea-he-was-shooting shots of me =.="

Til next time,
Calista xx


  1. driving honda hybrid is a great experience

  2. suka sangat dudu dalam bonet..hahahaha

  3. I admire your artwork on the batik. That's one of the nicest batik painting I've ever seen :P

    1. You damn sarcastic riggghhhhhhtttt.. Hahahaha..

  4. Can put Calista in the boot anywhere XD

  5. time to kidnap you into my car boot. or maybe henry's car boot. see whether you fit.

    1. Excuse me, I am a lady of luxury.. Only spacious, comfortable car boots may apply.. LOL!!

  6. Pictures of being able to hide you in the car boot is seriously amusing ~~ hahaha

    1. Now to hide this post from all the wrong people =O

  7. Great...... Looked like a fun trip in some classy cars..

    1. It was a fun trip! So glad I got to see Kelantan, in comfort! =D

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