Tag Archives: Pedu Lake

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 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 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 favourite 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

 


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 – … … … 🙂

 

 

 


Chasing The Light in Tasik Pedu

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Seri Mahawangsa Boathouse at Pedu Lake, Kedah

“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” – Aaron Rose 

I learnt from observing and listening to people around me, therefore most people that I met are my teachers and mentors in their own way. Yup … a bit cliche, I know but well … a lazy middle aged woman like me doesn’t have much time to spend on trials and errors 🙂 .

I have been following Yaman Ibrahim for closed to a year now. Observing and learning from him, a great teacher who loves doing whatever that he is doing. He has that eyes for spotting good lights around him … he called it “Yaman’s Eye”.

By all means … the “good light” in photography yeah peeps. Not that near to death moment light or that spiritual spotlight or that seeking the light aka mysterious haunted light thingy huh.

So, I spent a ‘rich’ 3-days with him and a group of great companion at Pedu lake, Kedah, Malaysia last weekend. We were ‘chasing the light’ around the lake. Good light that can creates a sense of drama to our subject.

Yaman has been working closely with tourism Malaysia for years. He has the experience and opportunity to explore Malaysian culture more than other photographers that I know. Looking at his photos made me longing for the same opportunity to shoot and document my own home culture through my own lens.

Sharing some martial art moves from the boys of Silat Gayung Nusantara Kedah with y’alls. Fyi … I got a lot more interesting shoots around here in Pedu Lake but well, every picture has its own moment.

So, I had my first opportunity to shoot subjects that close to my heart. A traditional action-packed Malaysian Malay martial art. The morning light and the rays were superb.

I was enjoying my moment. The backlight from the morning sun rays were a bliss.  There were 10 of us … photographers from various genres. And listening to our camera shutters sound at the highest possible burst rate, at the same exact time … was interestingly comical.

Listening to them (and myself) again and again, commenting and admiring our own photos was hilarious too. Yep … photographers and their egos, right? We were ‘high’ with our own moment, self achievement moment … lol, I am guily as well, it felt pathetic now … as I recalled back the moment he he he

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My second favourite spot after the hammock

I had a good time while in here. It was super quiet … no phone coverage, no wifi, no TV … a total disconnected from the noisy life. And, having surrounded by a great companion was a bonus too. The owner of the boathouse is a very talented host. He is the boatman, the cook, the wireman, the karaoke man, the technician, the talent etc. Yaik … talking about him … I still owe him a collection of his portraits.

If I was not holding my camera … I would either chewing on food or daydreaming in the hammock … enjoying my quiet moment, snoozing. My companions were as noisy as always hu hu hu yep! a very cheerful and lively crowd but my mind was at peace … alhamdullilah what matters is the heart … right?

I will repeat this trip again in March 2016. Thinking of spending more time there … like a week of totally disconnected from the world. In Sha Allah …

Bye now

 

Cheers

MM

 

p/s … “You wander from room to room … hunting for the diamond necklace … that is already around your neck!” ~ Rumi

 

 

 

 


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