Tag Archives: cuti-cuti 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.


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


Flying to the mysterious island in Hulu Selangor

04.05.2017: They fly and explore various places around Malaysia with their engine powered wings during weekends, public holidays or special events. Being an adventurous spirit, I frequently join them for cross-country (XC) flying trip around Malaysia. Exploring and gliding through the airspace and seeing Malaysian’s landscape from a different perspective.

My alarm went off at 5 am that Sunday morning.

Earlier than usual as I needed to rush to the pre-planned take-off site of my next flying adventure. I had my quick shower, grabbed my camera bag and my flying equipment then drove for an hour to Antara Gapi, Serendah, Hulu Selangor.

Our take-off site was a public area. An open area up on top of a small hill in the middle of Antara Gapi’s town.

Heart of the eagle

A small group this morning, 6 paramotor pilots and me as a tandem passenger to one of them. They seemed to have something in common with me, an explorer spirit and I labeled them as my explorer PPG friends. They glided gracefully through the airspace exploring our Malaysian tropical landscape with their motors neatly tucked behind their back and their wings on top of their heads.

Riding on a paramotor tandem trike is different from riding pillion on a motorbike or on an airplane, as the passenger sits in front while the pilot sits at the back as he needs to control the glider and the throttle. So, passengers have a first-class view of whatever in front of the trike.

We were heading to Sungai Tinggi Dam, Hulu Selangor, 33 km away from our take-off site. It would take approximately 45 minutes of flying hours to reach the place and another 45 minutes to fly back. As usual, I would be riding tandem with PPG pilot Tazza. I tagged along with them whenever they need a photographer to help capture their flying adventure.

Tazza would check on his pre-flight checklist while I would get into my seat; reorganized my cameras and my radio; set my prayers and wait for the clearance to takeoff.

A flock of bird

The clock was pointing at 7:30 am and morning lights started to rise from the horizon, pilots would take their turn to spread their wings, fire their motors and take-off safely from the ground. The air tends to be calmer early in the morning and as the light hiked up higher on the horizon, thermal heat could rock their gliders. So, they need to be fast because the air could be unpredictable.

Our adventure started when every pilot has successfully airborne, as they would glide out of Antara Gapi in one group. We were heading to the Selangor river, approximately 6.3km northwest of Antara Gapi, and we would trail along the river.

We flew above small towns, some housing areas and lingered around hundreds of fishponds along the river bank. Hundreds or maybe thousands of birds loitered around the ponds probably looking for early breakfast and as the pilots glide through the area the birds ran berserk fearing the sound of their engines. It felt so good flying side by side with the birds, you could almost feel that you were part of the flock.

We were cruising along the Selangor river until we reached the North-South Highway and we then headed up to the North, flying parallel along the highway for about 10km. Once we reached near Bukit Tagar, we then crossed over the highway heading northwest to Sungai Tinggi Dam.

The view was way beyond words. I have traveled and witnessed countless beautiful landscapes around the world but I have never expected to experience such rich and mesmerizing views from a place just 1-hour drive from my home.

Such peace and serenity filled the air and the landscape right beneath was such an amazing sight. I could see layers by layers of hills with a sign of thick mist in between the gaps.

Immersed in nature

Hulu Selangor area has a very diversified landscape. The area is relatively unspoiled, surrounded by mountains and secondary tropical forest. Flying with paramotor over the area is another option for the adventurous explorer who wishes to experience a variety of landscapes in 1 hour and 45 minutes.

When you are flying above at a certain height, your brain may get a bit lost on trying to figure out the right direction. It was a free highway up there hanging on the air,  as there were no physical roads and signboards to guide the way. It is critical to be 100% sure on the direction as ppg pilots could not refuel gas while they were on air.  Getting lost was not an option.

So, it is crucial for them to depend heavily on GPS, altimeter and whatever mobile app that could track their flying routes and location.

The mystery island

As the pilots glided forward, I noticed a change in the atmosphere around me, the air felt much colder and windier. And, as I turned my head to my right I saw the mesmerizing view of the Sungai Tinggi dam. Dramatically, at that time the morning light was super golden.

The place felt mysterious. I understand now why the pilots called this place the “Mystery Island”. I had the urged to scream, not that hysterical scream but a delightful scream.

“What is this place? What is all this?” I screamed through the radio and my pilot friends were screaming and cheering at the same time too. What a beautiful moment. Honestly, the view from high above has yet to disappoint me, an amazing experience.

Each cross-country flight that I tagged along was always a unique experience and it never felt the same to me. I blamed it on the character of the air, the moment of the light and the altitude of our location. We spent another five minutes hovering around the dam before the leader decided that it was time to turn back to Antara Gapi.

Time to hit the ground

We followed a different and shorter route on our way back, as we needed to save on our fuel.

The flight back was as smooth as I could remember like a breeze. We were all in a joyful mood as we have once again achieved our target for the day. Once we reached Antara Gapi safely, we flew a few rounds above Antara Gapi’s town and successfully landed back on the take-off site. To be able to experience flying especially via paramotor is a true blessing, a privilege and addictive too.

Flying cross-country requires detail planning on both the route and the safety of the journey. Of course, they have to comply with certain rules and regulations before they could start their trips. Proper NOTAM needs to be requested from the authority and if the rules stipulated that they could not fly exceeding a certain height, then they need to adhere to the rules.

For those who yearn to experience a different way to explore the surrounding of Hulu Selangor, Malaysia you can always try a tandem flight via paramotor from this group of explorer PPG pilots. They can be contacted at https://www.facebook.com/janjifly.janjifly.

Thank you for spending your time reading my experience and journey. Till we meet again.

Cheers

MM


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