Category Archives: Malaysia

Ikan Kelah in Kiulu Tuaran

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Welcome to Kiulu, Tuaran, Sabah

On our way out of Polumpung Melangkap in Kota Belud … we, the 3 traveling Sumandaks make a quick stop at a small town of Tamparuli to visit my local Tuaran Dusun friend, Lano Lan. A well-known local journalist cum photographer who writes for our local newspaper, NST for years.

I need to check out some interesting places in Tuaran for my next visit. And, who else should have known this place better other than the local journalists, right? So … I asked him, “Lan! we have 4 hours, please enlight us on why we should spend more time here in Tuaran”.

He laughed at the idea of how he could ‘excite’ us, the Sumandaks.

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Jambatan Tamparulli or Tamparulli Bridge

We started with a walk on the most well-known hanging bridge in Tamparuli. This bridge is made famous by the song ‘Jambatan Tamparulli’ means the Tamparulli bridge. I used to listen to the song during my school day years. “Jambatan Tamparuli” is the title of a Kadazandusun song composed and sung by Justin Lusah in the mid-1970s.

The song tells the story about a lady walking in high heels on the Tamparulli bridge.

As we strolled down the bridge, coincidently there was a street musician singing with his guitar at the other entrance of the bridge. I requested him to sing the well-known song “Jambatan Tamparulli” for us … he obliges. And listening to him singing ahhh! what a way to enjoy my “Jambatan Tamparulli” moment.

If you happened to bump into him while crossing the bridge, don’t forget to give him a good tip ya.

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Eric, the Tamparulli bridge street musician

Lunch mee rebus at Terminal Cafe

“Jom! let us have a quick lunch at this place that I really like,” suggest Lano Lan. Mee Rebus a local boiled noodle at Terminal Cafe in Kiulu village, super delicious for the hungry Sumandaks who had only a cup of ‘Maggi in a cup’  each for breakfast 😂 , yummy!. The best part of having a good local guide is that we could plan our limited traveling time in the most efficient way.

Done with our lunch.

Fish conservation or Tagal at Poturidong

Next, a short drive to the famous fish feeding, campsite, fish conservation area (Tagal) of Kampung Poturidong Baru in Kiulu. Crossing another hanging bridge to enter the riverside fish conservation area of Poturidong village. Another fish feeding area, so I thought?

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My first impression?

Clean. Crystal clear river water. Well-maintained recreation area. Beautiful green spot suit for nature lovers.

And the fish omg! y’all should look at the size of the fish crowding around our feet as we splashed the water surface with some fish food in our hands. As big as my thin crus. And, there are hundreds of friendly Kelah fish here making loud sucking sounds as they sucked on my hand and my fingers. Amazingly gross … lol. I like it though.

This area is in the red zone area, a conservation area gazetted as a no-fishing area. A good place for camping too but I personally prefer sleeping on a bed, I’ll stay in a chalet instead.

Residents of Poturidong village has been practicing a traditional approach called Tagal system for years to breed fish and to protect their precious natural asset, both the river and the fishes. Fishing is illegal here. The fishes are harvested once a year during the dry season.

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My mom said that Kelah or Empurau or Belian dish is famously tasty. I have yet to taste it but I am sure that Nazz must have loved the fish so much as I heard her calling the Kelah fish by a dish name 😂 … “Hey! Kelah goreng (fried Kelah) over there, masak tempoyak Kelah over here, asam pedas Kelah on this side”.

Selfie time

The long and winding Tuaran river that runs throughout this area is well-known for wild water rafting activities too. I should give it a try.  As we drive along the river I couldn’t help but noticed numerous hanging bridges along the river, connecting one village to another. A good Instagramable-spot detected.

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My Instagram pose

Thanks, Lano Lan for a quick eye-opening tour to Kiulu. We would come back again soon and stay for a night or two to experience more natural wonder of Tuaran, In Sha Allah.

Contact Lano Lan for his local guide service. DM him on his IG and Fb account or WhatsApp him at +6016 838 8290

Have you been to Tuaran?

Are there any other interesting places that I should visit here in Tuaran? Share it with me. Leave your suggestion on the comment area ya.

Sharing is caring. Semoga memberi manfaat.

Thanks and cheers

MM

PS —}: ‘Sumandak’ means young lady in ethnic Kadazan-Dusun dialect.

And we, 3 very curious Sumandaks (Nelly, Nazz and I) traveled together and explore some parts of Sabah in 12 days.  Traveling solo is cool, trust me … been there done that. But traveling with curious and same-minded traveler friends is way cooler.

A special way to deepen or weaken friendships as travel will remind you why you became friends with them in the first place, and how good it is to spend focused time together. I would share about places that we went to during our 12 days journey in Sabah and share them here, in my blog. In Sha Allah.


USBA Jetty at Kampung Batu Payung

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Port for the anglers at Jetty USBA

I was looking for a good sunrise and sunset spot when I was in Tawau just recently.

My friend, Zell suggested that I should check out some beaches at Kampung Batu Payung for sunrise.  The village resides along the coastline of Jalan Tinagat road. The only place in Tawau that has sandy beaches. This place brings back sweet memories, when I was young my father used to bring me and my brothers here for our weekend gateway.

So, we went driving along the coastline when I spotted a jetty on one of the beaches. A burger stall sits strategically next to some well-decorated benches. I saw several hammocks tied to some trees around a shade. Seeing the burger stall, our children screamed that they are hungry (just after our ‘big’ lunch, 2 hours ago lol). We then decided to check out this place.

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Lovely couple Aisyah and Zell posing on one of the hammocks

Jeti USBA kampung Batu Payung, Tinagat, Tawau

USBA Jetty at Kampung Batu Payung is owned by a 71 years old man, Uncle Sabturani bin Angsa. USBA stands for Usaha Sabturani Bin Angsa. Usaha means effort, so USBA stands for the effort of Sabturani bin Angsa taken care of this place.

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No sunrise for me on that morning, the cloud was too thick

Uncle Sabturani came to greet us at the bench while I was busy with my cameras, attempting to capture the sunset. My children were dangerously goofing around in one of the hammocks and he was worried that the hammock might snatch and hurt them. Well, children usually would listen to a stranger than to their parents, right?

This is the only place along the Tinagat road that has an Instagram-worthy spot. Except for the warning sign “Tinggalkan tempat ini jika bukan suami isteri atau muhrim” which are written at every corner of this place, this place is soothing. The warning sign says, lovebirds or unmarried couples are not welcome here and please leave this place as soon as possible. So, if you are unmarried lovebirds, you are not welcome here. Please respect that.

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Cozy place for family hangout

This place is for family hangout and for anglers, oh yeah … and for a photographer like me, lol. He provides hammocks, small surau (prayer place), light for the night anglers. And, if you are hungry … just order your Ramlee burger from the nearby burger stall.

Since this place is a private place, I think it would be good if we can donate some tips for his effort in maintaining the area. The donation box is just next to the surau.

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Rumah Khazanah USBA

Rumah Khazanah USBA, Kampung Batu Payung

Across the road is Uncle Sabturani’s home where he converts it into a little cozy personal museum, displaying his collection of antiques. He called his little museum as Rumah Khazanah USBA. Old telephones, lights from the previous old lighthouse, his records collection and his well-maintained record player etc.

Ahh … he was a videographer for events and weddings during his younger life, so he showcases all his old video making equipment at one corner. And, he has a storytelling corner too where he displayed old pictures of places in Tawau. A passionate storyteller, it shows when he eagerly narrates the early story about Tawau and Sabah to our children.

“Melopong mulut” our children listening to his story.

My little daughter Arissa loves his museum so much. When I asked her why she likes this place? She said because she could touch and test the things there (direct interactive), most museums do not allow us to touch the items on display. And, the children are happy that they were allowed to leave their message on his logbook. Easy entertainment for the children.

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Donation box

There is a donation box located outside his museum, I strongly encourage visitors to drop some donations for him as a token of appreciation for his effort.

The beaches here need cleaning work

As I said earlier, the jetty has an Instagram-worthy view but the condition of the beach here is another story. We as Malaysians generally are still not doing much about our rubbish, particularly our plastic issues. The beaches along Tinagat road are filthy with all kinds of trashes. So, if you plan to walk along a clean romantic beach here you might as well forget about it.

Of all the things that being said, if you happened to pass by this area, I still think that the USBA jetty and Uncle Sabturani are worth a visit.

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Us with Uncle Sabturani bin Angsa

Time well spent here in Tawau. Sharing with you timelapse landscape videos of a few places that I went during my stay in Sabah. Stay curious and keep on exploring your surroundings.

Cheers

MM


Hiking Maragang Hill Kundasang

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Maragang Hill, Kundasang, Sabah (2232m). April 11, 2019.

If you are in Kundasang, I bet that you would love to have a closer view of the mountainous Crocker Range surrounding the area but like me, the thought of rigorous hours and days of hiking scared the hell out of you.

And … if you could not resist the temptation to climb the gigantic Mt Kinabalu, then you should try climbing the 2 km trail of Maragang Hill instead, located in Kg. Mesilou, Kundasang.

Spend a total of 4-5 hours of your morning (4 km in total) to check out the gorgeous peak of Mt Kinabalu and the 360-degree view of Crocker Range from an open platform on top of Maragang Hill (2232m).

But, bear in mind that there is a high chance that the view would be overcast or hidden by thick mists and clouds.  Unless you are lucky or the weather is super good or you are there very early in the morning.

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My trekking buddies at 9.30 am – km 1

Nelly, Nazz and I, the 3 travelings Sumandak* started our journey from Kota Kinabalu at 5.45 am. Reached Mevoc (Mesilou Volunteer Club) admin registration office at 9 am. After registration, we then quickly jump onto our 4WD transportation to the hiking starting point and managed to persuade the ‘pakcik’ driver to drive us to the very last driving point of the trail (we saved 500m of our hiking energy 😝).

The Hike to Maragang Hill

As always, I need to enlighten you that I am not so into hiking but I always love the feeling of being surrounded by nature. I grumbled to myself as I walk on my first 500m while chewing on my apple. As I ascended the trail, the air started to feel very humid and fresh. Traces of mists still hanging on the air among the mossy trees.

Due to the heavy rain last night, the ground is wet and muddy. The air appeared gloomy and mysterious. Very refreshing.

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Mossy tree trunk

The climbing trail is surprisingly bearable for me. Yes, some 45-degree angle slops along the trails make it difficult to climb especially after the rain. I take my time and enjoy the fresh oxygen from the trees.

We reached the peak at 10.30 a.m and sadly could not see anything as thick mists filled the void areas around the mountains, hiding the gem. Sad but nature always has its own agenda, very unpredictable. I swallowed my disappointment silently. But yeay! this is not too bad … I could do this again on my next visit, In Sha Allah.

Nature lovers, this place is a must if you are in this area. Highly recommended!

Maragang Hill hiking package

They have 2 types of trekking trails that you can choose from; the normal trail and the loop trail, each with different package prices. We chose the normal trail package, the same trail ascending and descending (4 km) and for the loop trail, the same trail going up but different trail down (4.3 km). Our package cost is as follows:

1. Conservation fee rm10.00 per person
2. Guide [ 1 – 5 ] fee is rm70.00 per group of 1-5 people
3. Transportation cost rm30 

Contact details for further queries and updates :

Mesilou Volunteer Club (MEVOC)
Jumaidi Lasim, Chairman

T: +60 14 678 7136
E: maraganghill160917@outlook.com
Facebook: Maragang HILL (@MaragangHill)

But the good news is … there are no leeches here. Ahhh … finally, I can explore around the bushes and the tree trunks, peacefully. Nonetheless, you always need to be well prepared when you are in a jungle. My to-do checklist for this trip includes:

  • A guide is a must for Maragang Hill hike
  • Wear good hiking shoes or hiking sandals or any shoes with a good grip would do too. I wore my Teva hiking sandal for this trip.
  • Start the hike very early in the morning (4 am) and be at the top of the hill for the first light (as early as 5.30 am) until 8.00am to increase your chances of seeing a clear landscape view
  • Well powered handphone.
  • Food. I brought an apple, 1 bar of Sneaker, some snacks and my water bottle.
  • A small towel.
  • My small camera and a GoPro (optional)
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Photo credit to my friend Tazza

Would I do this again?

Absolutely yes! I am curious about how does the best view of this place would look like and I need to check it out with my own eyes. What do I like about this place?

  • The gorgeous front-seat view of Mt Kinabalu peak, they said. I need to confirm this with my own eyes. 😝
  • The trail is bearable, not too difficult
  • Our encounter with MEVIC personnel was very pleasant. Our guide, Azwan is well experienced and very polite. For travelers, meeting up with a genuinely kind and polite person on our journey is always feels heartwarming.
  • My travel mate Nelly and Nazz are superb companions. Nothing would feel gruesome when you have a good companion.
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A pose after the hiking with Azwan, our guide

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The night after the hike, we slept like a baby 

Have you been to Maragang Hill?

If you have, please share with me your story or tips. I would love to repeat this trip again soon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Cheers

MM

PS —} *’Sumandak’ means young lady in ethnic Kadazan-Dusun dialect.

And we, 3 very curious Sumandaks (Nelly, Nazz and I) traveled together and explored some parts of Sabah in 12 days.  Traveling solo is cool, trust me … as I have tried traveling solo before. But traveling with curious and same minded traveler friends is way cooler. It is absolutely true that traveling can either strengthen or weaken a friendship.

A special way to deepen friendships as travel will remind you why you became friends with them in the first place, and how good it is to spend focused time together. I would share about places that we went to during our 12 days journey in Sabah and share them here, in my blog. In Sha Allah.


Hiking Bukit Gelas Waterfall, Tawau

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The trails signboard at Taman Bukit Tawau

I just came back from a refreshing trip to Tawau, Sabah.

A 12 days school holiday trip with 2 of my kiddos, Azzim (16 yrs) and Arissa (10 yrs old). Instead of the usual eat and sleep trip, I plan to have an adventurous and eye-opening trip for my 2 champs. Keeping in mind that I need to be flexible with my plan as traveling with young teenagers is challenging. Their mood swings could definitely kill my mood to explore the place.

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Entrance sign of the waterfall

I always love a short walk or a short hike in the jungle and Tawau has a lot of short length hiking tracks. One of the mornings, we decided to go for a short hike to Bukit Gelas Waterfall, Tawau.

Bukit Gelas waterfall or Air Terjun Bukit Gelas

Located in Taman Bukit Tawau or Tawau Hills Park, approximately 30 minutes drive or 22 km away from the town. This place is properly maintained and enlisted as one of the Sabah Park (1979). The pristine clear water running through the river, the humid foresty tropical forest and the peaceful sound of the jungle are soothing for any nature lover soul. I always love the smell of the forest.

Azzim, Hafiz and Izan decided to hike with me while Arissa opted out.

The 3 young teenagers looked eager to explore the forest. We plan to trek to the nearby waterfall, the Bukit Gelas waterfall.  The kids were curious and as we stepped into the track, their eyes started to focus on the route and for the hungry leeches. It is interesting to watch their reactions throughout the trekking.

We are surrounded by greens and all sorts of nature sounds. Tall giant trees are randomly scattered along the trail, beautiful sight to look at.

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The track starts here

The track is well guided with visible road marks every 100 meters and the trail is relaxingly easy to follow. Suits for a family with young teenagers looking for relaxing light trekking. The route follows along the river and as you walk, the sound of running water accompanies your walk, very calming.

Strolling slowly along the track would take you 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the Bukit Gelas waterfall. A few places along the trail are slippery and muddy, watch your steps.

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My hiking companion: Hafiz, Izan and Azzim

Checklist for hiking

This hike suits novice or anybody who needs a quick dose of nature. Nonetheless, you always need to be well prepared whenever you are in any jungle. It’s good to be well prepared than being sorry right? My usual checklist includes:

  • Good hiking shoes. No slipper or sandal, please.
  • Water bottle. Please bring your own water bottle and refills as you go. Empty mineral water goes back into your backpack. Don’t just dispose them along your trail. I have seen hundreds of empty bottles thrown along my trails in Bohey Dulang a few days ago. Please, please, please do your part to save our earth.
  • Well powered handphone.
  • Food. I always prepare energizing tidbits in my backpack in case I got hungry while trekking. Energy bars, apples, bread or a bar of chocolate, maybe?
  • A hat
  • A small towel
  • A small camera and a GoPro (optional)
  • A small tripod (optional)

The National Park front gate opens from 8 am to 4.30 pm. You might spent around 4 hours for a light track, so plan your journey accordingly.

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The map

Start early as morning hike is very therapeutic. If you are early, you could hike to 3 different trails here. I would suggest you start with Bukit Gelas Waterfall. Spend about 30 to 45 minutes for a quick dip then walk down the trail at km 1.5 and hike for another 1.7 km for the Sulfur Hot Springs (total distance 3.2 km from the base). And, on your way back to the base don’t forget to visit the world’s tallest tropical tree (88.32 m) and walla! you are done for the day.

Please be reminded that this place has hungry leeches, crawling quietly for food, lol. I am scared of leeches. Actually, I hate those sucking blood insects but I could not avoid their existence in our Malaysian rainforest. So, I put on extra effort to avoid them.  To minimize your encounter with leeches,  I would suggest that you choose your hiking time properly, those leeches are super active during the raining season.

Ahh … another thing.

Locals here thinks that this place is haunted. So, just be extra cautious about your actions and your surroundings while you are here. They said this place is ‘keras’. But I didn’t experience any weird incident during my visit there, alhamdullilah. Most jungles are naturally haunted, I think. After all we humans are not the only occupants on this earth.

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Bukit Gelas waterfall, Tawau

If you happened to visit Tawau, you might want to check out this place with your family. Taman Bukit Tawau is easily accessible and it is worth your time. For those who have been to this place, please share your experience here. Leave your note in the comment section below.

Have you been to Taman Bukit Tawau or Air Terjun Table? How was your experience there?

Share with me

Cheers

MM


Madu Tualang

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beehives on Tualang branches at Pedu Lake forest

Haze has been invading my oxygen supply since early last month and it gets worse every single day now. Never a miss for every single year during the dry season that we Malaysian have to experience the smoky haze from our neighboring country.

I could cynically claim that Malaysia is a 3 season country now: the dry season, monsoon season and the haze season. The season where I got most of my asthmatic attack.

I take honey to help sooth down my phlegm and sore throat.

Wild honey reminds me of Manuka honey

The sweet thick caramel taste of  New Zealand Manuka honey made by bees that roam around the huge open valleys in New Zealand, where Manuka flowers bloom widely between bushes and the bees roam freely collecting delicious nectars.

My honey supply comes from the nearest organic shops around my house imported from New Zealand. I don’t simply just buy local honey from the street as I don’t want to get cheated into sucking in melted caramel sugar that those opportunists claimed as pure honey. We get that a lot in Malaysia.

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beehives on Tualang tree with wooden steps nailed to the branch by honey hunters

It is not easy to get pure local honey

Honey taste differently from one another depending on the type of flower nectar that the bees suck into. While the environment that the bees live in contributing to the quality of the honey.

Definitely not easy for bees to build their nest here in Malaysia with our air pollution level (haze from Indonesia) and our habit of destroying our greens under the name of development. Hmmm … so I am a bit skeptical about purchasing any honey from the street.

I tasted some local honey before like Honey Kelulut (taste a bit sour),  local honey from an unidentified origin ( the seller swear that it is pure honey) and Tualang honey. The most expensive and tasty honey so far for my taste is Tualang honey. The Tualang honey that I bought from Amir of Seri Mahawangsa boathouse in Tasik Pedu is tastier, better in taste comparing to the Manuka honey from New Zealand.

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The Tualang tree from the rainforest of Pedu Lake, Kedah

Why Madu Tualang or Tualang honey?

Being a curious cat, I wonder why does the famously sought after Tualang honey tastes that good? What so special about this seasonal and expensive honey? And they said Tualang honey from Pedu Lake is among the best quality of honey in the world.

This is when I discovered the Tualang honey hunters of Pedu Lake. A very interesting discovery that changes on how I see my jar of honey at home.

Why do the bees choose Tualang trees?

The tallest tree in the rainforest is the Tualang tree. The tree stands prominently among the rest of the tree in the forest.

And, giant Asian bees of Apis Dorsata roams around the forest collecting flower nectars around Tasik Pedu and build their nest high up on the tall branches of a Tualang tree, out of the reach of the predators (both human and animals). The bees collected flower nectars from the estimated 180 types of flowers from different trees surrounding the area of Pedu Lake.

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Brother Nizam with his Tualang tree

I always have the idea that we are stealing from the bees. They work so hard accumulating nectars and turn it into golden honey, while we easily would just steal from their hives. But, we are inter-dependent with our ecology.

Therefore, honey hunters need to adopt a sustainable method on how to harvest wild honey and at the same time ensuring the survival of the bees.

Pemburu Madu Tualang or Tualang hunters of Pedu Lake

Late March this year, I followed a group of a traditional honey hunter of Pedu Lake lead by brother Nizam. You can google him on the internet as they are a well-known honey hunter for this area and he and his team got featured on National Geographic channel.

You see, brother Nizam has the exclusive rights to a few Tualang trees in Pedu Lake. Honey collected from the bees trees in this virgin rainforest is ‘technically’ owned by him and his entourage. The ‘rights’ runs in the family for almost a decade, starting from his great grandfather, grandfather and now to him.

They have been adopting a sustainable way to harvest the wild honey for years.

If you are doing it right, the bees would always build its nest and produce tons of honey on the same tree for years after years. It’s like a yearly ritual journey for the honey hunters once a year on the same month to harvest the precious honey of the same Tualang trees.

Interesting right?

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A honey hunter looking out to the Tualang tree

The flowering season of our rainforest

Bees would start building up their nest after the monsoon season. From January to March bees would be super busy helping the pollinating process around the forest.

I am lucky this year to be able to witness the mass flowering season of the rainforest around Pedu Lake and Sepilok in Sabah.  It was in March and early April. I was told that the phenomena happened every 5 years. Almost every tree in the forest that I visited at that time were flowering.

And, each corner of the forest smells differently. I have a strong sense of smell. Being able to witness and smell the forest during the flowering season is amazingly beautiful.

What an experience!

Once the honey is mature enough the team of seven to eleven hunters starts preparing the preliminary works before the actual harvesting procedure which I would go details in my next posting.

The tools are ready.

The stairs have been properly nailed from the ground to the top of the Tualang branch.

The harvesting could only be done at night when the bees are less hostile, as bees could not see in the dark. I waited anxiously and prayed for a dry night (even though the weather forecast says that it’ll rain for the next 5 days). Me being optimistic.

I already imagine myself licking on the thick high nutritional golden Tualang honey and bang! the sky at 6 pm on the ‘right’ harvesting night turned cloudy while the cold wind started to warn us about the incoming rainstorm.

And at 8 pm. it started to rain … for the next 5 nights too haaaah, well.

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Tualang trees at night

You see, even a drop of rain could ruin the precious honey. So, rain is a no-no during the harvesting process. So I asked … each time when it’s raining what happened to the honey at the hives? It would get contaminated too right?

Nature has its own way to survive… you know when it’s raining that thousands of giant bees would gather around the hive and shield their nest with their tiny-miny wings, like an umbrella. Amazing right?

The weather was unpredictable and I decided not to wait as I have to catch another flight to Sabah for my 3 weeks trip and I missed the harvesting season for this year. I will try again next year and share the story here.

Marking my calendar for the next honey hunting expedition in the year 2020,

In Sha Allah. I’ll see y’all in my next posting. Take care.

Cheers

MM


The Quietness of the moment in Tasik Pedu

I just got back from Pedu Lake, Kedah, Malaysia.

Located up on the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia approximately 5km away from the Malaysia-Thailand border, the lake is easily accessible via a well-maintained road.

The 12km-long lake is part of the dense rainforest of Gunung Fakir Terbang, 6 1/2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur via North-South highway (exit Gurun straight on to Sik then approx 7 km away, turn right to Gulam then left to Durian Burung and proceed to Seri Mahawangsa Pedu Lake jetty).

Surrounded by clean water and serene forest, this is a good place to retreat your soul from the noisy and super busy city life.

I am recommending this place to those who need a short break from the city life.

The only place to stay here in the middle of the lake is at Seri Mahawangsa boathouse, yes on a boathouse parked next to a small island about 15-20 minutes from the jetty.

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Seri Mahawangsa boathouse of Tasik Pedu

So, you can choose to sleep on the boathouse or on a treehouse or on a hut or just on a hammock or in a tent, an eco-resort type of stay.

Whatever your choice is the hammock is my best personal choice.

I fancy quietness and this place is easily accessible and quiet.

Tips to enjoy the luxury of lazing around in Tasik Pedu

If you plan to spend your time just lazing around then I want to share a few tips on how to enjoy “the luxury of just lazing around” in Tasik Pedu.

Firstly, listening to the Cicadas orchestra

This group of Cicadas or riang-riang (in Malay) would sing together at some odd times, a few times a day. Their buzzing sound that echoes throughout tree branches in this tiny island in Tasik Pedu (Amir called it the Survival Island) is phenomenal.

Stay quiet.

And you will notice their orchestra performance played as a background song in the island. Their music sounds louder than normal maybe because of the echoes.

 

Secondly, swimming with the Lampam fish around the boathouse.

Swimming during a hot day is heavenly.

Swimming in a pool or at a river or at a beach is different from swimming in a lake. There is an abundant of fresh clear water around you. Yes, swimming in a deep lake feels different.

During a hot day, the water inside the lake feels colder and warmer at the same time. Very therapeutic.

But please be caution on your safety. I put on my life jacket all the time when I am in the water.

And I was in the water for hours. Canoeing and swimming … just enjoying the sun and the water at the same time.

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swimming during mid-day

Thirdly, lazing in your hammock during the mid-day after lunch

Yay! we have a full-time chef at the boathouse. He cooks all the time. Yes! he is a he.

I was well fed all the time. After having my rice with masak lemak ikan baung (fresh water fish in coconut milk) I feel … d r o w s y.

Not much thing to do as it is super hot during mid-day.

Lazing around in my hammock under the tree with all the leaves hanging out is a perfect thing to do. Sleeping … to be precise ☺️.

Embracing the lazy moment without guilt. Wahhh … I am happy.

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my quiet moment

Fourthly, watching the movement of the light and the clouds from the boathouse.

After a few boat trips circling the lake and enjoying the vast natural landscape surrounding Pedu Lake, a quiet time while watching the sunset is my next lazing thing to do.

Sitting with your loved one while watching the change of colour on the horizon is romantic. Hmm feeling lazy together with your loved one is classically romantic.

It makes me thinking of the Creator that creates all of these beautiful things around us. A moment to just be connected to the Creator and appreciating His greatness.

Feeling blissful to be able to just sensing His existence through the beauty around us is an amazing feeling. Alhamdullilah.

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an article I wrote about capturing ambience light in Tasik Pedu

Fifth, hanging out at one of the treehouses at night

There are a few treehouses that you can choose from. And hanging out in my hammock with my favorite book while listening to the sound of the forest at night is cool and peaceful.

Just me and my own world. I would never get tired of this.

Conclusion: All of us need to have a quiet moment with ourselves. To feel comfortable and peaceful being with ourselves. To feel at peace with ourselves.

He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world ~ Marcus Aurelius

Although I don’t mind being on my own but having a person or two that have the same quiet mind as I am, hanging out with me is always welcome.

How do you prefer to spend your quiet moment?

Share with me and leave your comment below.

Cheers

MM


The jewel of Semporna Sabah

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keep your head up boys and survive the best way you could

For months I tried to find the excuse to re-visit my childhood hometown. Being born and raised during my teenage life in Tawau, Sabah, this place has a soft spot in my heart. I miss the food … I miss my old childhood friends and I miss talking in the Sabahan dialect too.

This time around, my excuse is … I am re-visiting islands around Semporna for the second time. Had a good deal return ticket from KL to Tawau and spent a few days hanging out in Tawau with my childhood friends while enjoying the weekends at the islands surrounding Semporna, hunting the light with some new friends.

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the sea gypsies of islands surrounding Semporna, Sabah

I miss the salty air and the beautiful endless open sky. As we were speeding off to Selakan Island from Semporna jetty, I can’t help reminiscing the old sweet years when I used to spend my weekend doing island hopping with my compact camera. Carefree years … when my camera was just so light and the years where I carried my flippers more than my camera.

I am feeling old … only old people reminiscing their old sweet memories.

My second visit to this beautiful place. The first time in 2015 when I was still fresh in this photography world, at that time everything looked new and exciting to me. Guess what … the second trip is as excited as before, I am born to do this … to wander around my surrounding and just fall deeper into my own world while doing … the THINKING, lol (so much to think about).

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gypsy girls swinging carefreely

Timbun Mata, Bodgaya, Maiga, Selakan, Gusungan, Ormadal and a lot more surrounding islands that we can explore. The setting of each island looks damn good during sunset and sunrise. And, I noticed something different this time around with my new travel mates … they play with the drones more than their cameras.

A new way of enjoying our beautiful surrounding which is aerial photography. Now everybody can fly … me? I think I would just stick to my paramotor addiction. Flying with a group of motivated adventurous paramotor pilots and enjoying the raw aerial view with my own eyes, self-satisfaction. I get to feel the fear of the unknown circumstances while flying … while the drone players fear that they would lose their drone signal and later would lose the drone.

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a girl drying fish at the beach in Maiga Island

What makes a place interesting?

For me … it’s the people that reside in the place that makes the place compelling. In here the sea gypsies people are well blended with their nature. Life is simple.

But for a thinker … you’ll get worried just by looking at the children paddling here and there aimlessly. I always believe that every child needs to go to school, at least to learn reading, writing, calculating and reading the Quran.

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Zainab and her lunch for today

By giving that basic skill to our children we fulfilled at least the very minimal responsibility as a parent to them. Giving them the skills will help them make a better choice in life. It is up to the parents though. I saw a few schools here in some islands. Maybe they just choose not to send their children to school.

Ahh well … enough worrying, at least they are happy with their choice of life. As I said earlier … it’s a simple life, no ruffles.

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sunrise in Maiga island

I always want to say this at the end of my writing … that I want to visit the same place again and again. 3 days 2 night is not enough … it was cloudy during the 3 days that we were there and on the second day, we were chased by the storm during sunset at Bodgaya Island. I think a week would be good.

The cloudy stormy sky is the best time to capture time-lapse as the clouds would move rapidly. Sharing my time-lapse video here for y’alls. Amazing moment captured using my small gopro6.

And last but not least, belanja a picture of me under the stormy cloud for my fan out there (perasan … lol am being cynical here) and for those people who are not so my fan, please underestimate me, that’ll be fun. Annyeong …

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Underestimate me please, that’ll be fun

 

Cheers

MM

ps: if life gave you lemon, make lemonade.


Secret Hideout in Kuala Terengganu

IMG_2322I found a new secret hideout in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia.

A simple, quiet and rusty place for an introvert soul, like mine … or let me rephrase it again, an OLD and worn out soul like mine. Lol … Selfish me, everything has to be like mine … mine all mine, no sharing and I do not want to share my soulmate either (if I ever have any) … gth! mental … oh yes!
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Pak Awi’s Yellow House located at Pulau Duyung, Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu has a few small islands in-between the mainland and Pulau Duyung (Duyung Island) is the largest island. I flew over the islands during a paramotor event last 2 years. Never occurred to me that there are interesting stories to explore down there on the islands.

 

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Well … Pak Awi didn’t pay me anything to promote his place so don’t get me wrong. I just love the place.

I found a new hidden place that I could stay for a few days or even weeks without creating a big hole in my wallet. A cool and safe place to go home to after hours and hours wandering around Kuala Terengganu.

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Lepaking at one of the bench 

What would I do here in Kuala Terengganu? Hmmm … I am going for a story hunting and I myself not sure what is the outcome gonna look like, lol.

I plan to hang around with the makciks (mid-aged ladies) around the villages listening to them gossiping he he he and the pakciks (middle-aged man) around the coffee shops or jetties reminiscing about life. Tengok berapa lama boleh tahan … the rest is a secret.

A few more photos of my new found hiding place before I end this post.

Last but not least … my all time favorite breakfast, Nasi Kerabu.  A blue colored rice mixed with fresh vegetables, salted egg, stuffed green chili pepper, a piece of roasted chicken and sambal (chili paste). Wallah … am hungry now … gotta run.

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Bye

Cheers,

MM

ps- sambil dengar lagu “kutuliskan kesedihan, semua tak bisa kau ungkapkan, dan kita kan bicara dengan hatiku” dan perut yang lapar


Light Painting with Fire

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Lake Gardens Taiping, Perak at wee hours

I was with my three (3) other travel companions last weekend playing with lights at Taiping, Perak. A short weekend outing to start off our new travel team (we called us the #gengbajetravel). We planned to travel together since God knows … very long time ago …  but it always canceled at the very last minute. Excuses after excuses …

Then, we decided to make it happened, by hook or by crook. The weather forecast said that it’ll be raining the whole weekend … oh boy! there goes our plan for sunset, sunrise and Milkyway. We had our backup plan though … if everything failed then we’ll experimenting steel wool photography instead.

We were at Lake Garden Taiping, Perak, Malaysia as early as 4 a.m, praying for a clear sky to shoot Milkyway …but the sky was too cloudy.  It was not possible so we headed straight to Plan B, light painting with burning steel wool. I was excited to try something new …

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The making of Dorayaki

It was fun, experimenting new technique with good companions while listening to the frogs’ orchestra performing live background music. Always … always … always surrounded with good people, am I blessed or am I blessed, alhamdullilah.

The four of us are super crazy. Well, crazy in a good way lol… crazy seeking for something new to uplift our skill. We are very competitive towards each other but our sense of humanity are still strongly intact. I adore friend like that.

People said that your friends are the reflection of you and if that is the case, well … I want to be my friend :-p  <— perasan kan?

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The Cinderella carriage

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Rain on fire

Steel wool photography is not as hard as I thought it would be. It’s easy to learn. I love the dramatic and artistic effect too and I am officially curious to explore more on this.

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Circle of fire

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My sunrise landscape

I set my camera on manual mode, the speed at 10-15″ and ISO at 250 to 400 accordingly (for those who are curious about the camera setting). Trying to incorporate “ring of fire” onto my landscape in future … just to feed my curiosity on how my landscape image would look like with this additional art.

 

Gotta go! Cheerios …

MM

 

ps – …

It’s better to know how to learn than to know ~ Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Curiosity Killed the Cat of Tasik Pedu

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Photo taken from Mr Google

I have been reading quite extensively this past few weeks. Upscaling my photography technical knowledge … to be able me to teach (yes! teach … I, myself am surprised too) a Basic Photography Class for a small crowd of students last few weekends. My first teaching stint aka my excuse to learn from my observers.

A good thing that I decided to do this as I found a strong excuse to refresh and brush up my camera and composition knowledge. So … I have been reading more than usual too.

Sharing with y’all an interesting write-up on street photography that I am currently trying to digest:

‘100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography’ by Eric Kim   

Street photography is always my first choice of photography. Being a curious cat since as long as I can remember helps me to enjoy street photography more than any other photography genre that I have tried.

Being curious on the street with strangers from all sort of background makes the process of meeting new people kind of adventurous to me. Like a child mind … everything and everyone looks trust worthy in my eyes. But often enough I have to restrain myself from being too curious or too friendly with my subject knowing that every culture has its own social restrictions that I need to be well aware of.

p.s – pics of me being curious with these fisherman and fisherwoman at the Pedu Lake jetty

Yep, curiosity killed a cat for sure (my cat lol). Encountered an uncomfortable aka social resistance aka an awkward situation recently, that put me down for a few days too. But nonetheless being an optimistic bitch … my eight (8) other cat lives were struggling up to gasp for oxygen at no time … alhamdullilah.

Maybe a platonic relationship between man and woman will never exist in the world of pessimist. A curious mind of a woman in the world of pessimist belongs to a slut or a husband snatcher huh wth. I am blessed that I lived in the world of optimist … sayonara to the pessimist, I am off to explore more of this part of the world.

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Taking my time-off at my favourite spot at Seri Mahawangsa BoatHouse, Lake Pedu, Kedah

Well … I decided to join my photographer friend for a short trip to Kedah, Malaysia for a quick stress reliever. I took an early train (ETS KTM train) from Kuala Lumpur to Anak Bukit, Kedah. Slept one night at my friend’s house in Jitra, Kedah and spent another night at Seri Mahawangsa BoatHouse, Lake Pedu, Kedah. Then … I took an afternoon train back to KL again.

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Our lunch before we headed to Lake Pedu, Kedah

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I got to shoot the full moon

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And, I got to shoot the morning sunrise too

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And, I snooped around and shoot the lovebird

And this was how I spent my time at the Seri Mahawangsa BoatHouse, Pedu Lake, Kedah. Ahhh …  a simple mind and a simple life …nothing more. 

Bye for now …

Cheers

MM

ps – … … … 🙂

 

 

 


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