Tag Archives: travel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My second visit here at Northern Vietnam and my first was five years ago.
This time around we covered Sapa, Y Ty, Ha Giang, Dong Van and the Ban Gioc waterfall in Cao Bang. We drove along the road close to the border of Vietnam and China starting and ending at Hanoi.
Acres and acres of dreamy layers of paddy field.
The road is narrow, long, rough and winding but the view is worth the pain.
Due to its small road, I think the best way to enjoy the landscape view here is with a motorbike. Riding slowly along the narrow path in between the layers and layers of paddy field and explore the life of Vietnamese ethnic minority here.
For the Muslim, halal food is difficult to find along the way. So, be prepared with your own food arrangement. I turned into a vegetarian whenever I travel, but it seemed like being a vegetarian here at Northern Vietnam is also very tough. Since I am aware of what I want to explore here … a little struggle on food has not dampened my spirit.
Just be a little flexible and creative on my diet choice then I would definitely survive.
Our local guide during this trip is uniquely interesting.
An adventurous girl, she claimed that she is always lucky with the weather. During the week … yes indeed! the weather forecast predicted that we would have a strong storm for the whole week throughout our visit but the weather decided to treat us fairly with at least 50% sunlight, 30% foggy moody grumpy weather and 20% light rain. She is indeed our weather lucky charm.
I accepted the gloomy weather during this trip ‘as is’, not complaining.
Plan B. The best time to capture clouds movement. Slow shutter landscape shoot and time-lapse video. So at each location, rain or shine, I make it a point to capture time-lapse moments. Each recording takes up to at least an hour for a 5-second interval of at least 7 seconds time-lapse video using my GoPro.
Sharing my time-lapse video here at my youtube channel.
Gorgeous beautiful world that we stayed in, Masya Allah. And … I am grateful that I have the eyes to see and a heart to feel. I want to see more, I want to feel more.
How not to get bored of traveling?
My way? Planning for each travel trip is very important to me. If I plan to be at a place for say 14 days, I would plan on my everyday itinerary together with my backup plan if anything doesn’t go according to my plan.
Flexibility help reduces my anxiety.
I travel to do and see things I can’t at home. I hope to learn more about myself and being flexible allow me to be more open to a new self-experience.
My planning reflects my commitment to creating a unique different moment in each place that I visit. So that I could recall how does that place makes me FEEL years after years later.
I am glad that I am into photography. Morning light and afternoon light is always my favorite hours. So, I would be up very early in the morning and stayed until the last light, hunting and experiencing local festivals, market crowds, treks the hills to have a peek of the enchanting landscape, walking through a strangers village to have a look at how is life on this other side of the world and so on. The moment of learning and experiencing humanity is always a satisfying moment for me.
Wandering is a lot easier if you have a clear direction on where to go. Sharing some photos during my trip to Northern Vietnam last year. Will share more story during this trip on my next post. In Sha Allah
And last question … am I lucky? Yes, I feel lucky therefore I am lucky. Have a good day dear reader. Bye.
A friend asked me.
After so many places that I have been to, do I not feel bored?
After a while every place would look the same, she claimed. She travels a lot too. Covering common touristy places that normal tourist would go but yes, I think she has a good point there.
We tend to overdo things.
And when we overdo things, we’ll get numb and bored.
I call it the “touch and go” kind of traveling … get to your next stop, the Instagram famous spot, then click here click there in 30 minutes run to the bus to the next stop, click here click there in 20 minutes back to the bus again and repeating that for 7 days while covering for 6 continents (I am exaggerating here yah).
After a few trips like this … places will look the same, there is not enough time to FEEL. The reason we travel is to experience the FEEL. Every place offered a different opportunity for us to FEEL but we need more than 30 minutes to explore the new surrounding and experiencing FEEL.
How not to get bored while constantly traveling? Create a unique moment for each place that you visited. To do that … you need to do slow traveling.
Take more time at each place. Breath the air. Wander along the street. Explore local markets. Stay at the local’s home. Trek the mountain. Cycle around the town. Hangout at the local restaurant. Join the local festival.
Time for bed. It is 11:25pm on 03.01.2019. Will continue my rant on my next post. Goodnight.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 …
ps: if life gave you lemon, make lemonade.
I hate the word ‘busy’.
Oh … I have been busy, much busier than you (competing which each other on who is busier).
For me, the word ‘busy’ is like an excuse … oh, I could not spend my precious time with you, as my dear you are not worth my time, I would rather spend it with someone else which is more important than you. That is why you are so busy.
Hmmm … me being grumpy at my introductory paragraph. Excuse me … lol.
Me? I have been busy too and like always I admit that I have been crazy busy catching up with I dunno, maybe work, life or just recuperating from my back-to-back trips. And … despite being busy, I make times for my loved ones. The 3-ones that I always cherish, my pets too and my mom.
But …always a satisfying feeling despite how tired I am right now … ‘do what you love, love what you do’. I guess that I love myself the most when I am wandering around the stranger’s land more than when I am at home worrying about my unpredictable future.
I was in Pakistan for the second time last July with my travel mates.
We wanted to visit the Kalash people of Pakistan. Took a domestic flight from Islamabad to Chitral and a jeep ride to the remote area of Kalash Valley, Northern Pakistan. Reside between the mountain of Hindu Kush, this place is geographically harsh but for a person who loves nature, ahhh this place is beautiful.
In a country dominated by Muslims, this mountain people of Kalash is still holding on to their ancestor’s belief. Estimated around only 3000 Kalash people who are still practising the culture and their ancient pagan religion. Some of the Kalash people converted to Muslim, abandoning their traditions and adopting the Muslim lifestyle but still staying together around the valley.
The Kalash girls and women dressed up in a thick embroidered black robes with matching head gears and heavy bead necklaces every day. While the man adopted the same Kurta shirt as the rest of the Pakistani man. They have a colourful lifestyle and I think it is interesting to explore more about their culture.
Summer has just started when I touched down in Islamabad.
It was interesting as I always choose to travel to certain places either during the end of winter, spring or autumn and never in summer, as I prefer staying home in my hot and humid 24×7 country more than experiencing the heat of summer of another country.
In Chitral and Kalash Valley, the summer heat is the same as at home but the air is drier and windy, which made it bearable. But in Peshawar during Summer is … wow! challenging, due to the greenhouse effect temperature during the daytime is very warm (38’C feels like 42’C). Walking along the small alleys in between markets with the heat is not something that I look forward too but well … I survived Peshawar.
I always wanted to visit Peshawar.
My late university professor was from Peshawar (he passed away from dengue a few years ago). He told me that tomatoes in Peshawar are as big as mangoes. It makes me curious. Where got such thing as tomatoes as big as mangoes. I told him that one day I would love to visit his hometown, Peshawar and check out the tomatoes. And he said, ‘Please don’t go to Peshawar, that place is a dangerous place to walk around’.
My curious mind will never listen to NO. Oh … and I checked out the tomatoes, the size is still the same size as our tomatoes back home in Malaysia.
Walking on the street of Peshawar as a woman with a camera is not easy as you need to adhere to the local custom. Proper dressing is required. I wore my favourite black abaya and yes, it helps with the heat. But my gender becomes a hindrance for me to walk alone on the street and yes, I need a male companion to be able me to walk around the market. Thank God my local companion is very helpful and friendly, so my wandering process went smoothly.
When I am at home now, recuperating, I asked myself … what do I remember the most about Peshawar?
Uhhhh … the food.
I tasted the best lamb stew ever (better than in Xinjiang). The food tastes different from Islamabad, Chitral or Skardu. I was told that food in Peshawar is delicious due to the influence of Afghanistan, as Peshawar is just 57km away from the Afganistan border. And now I wonder … about the food in Kabul. Is it good? Hmmm curious mind.
I overstuffed myself with lamb and chicken every day, 3 times per day in 11 days. Never in my life that I’ve been eaten overload of animals in a day … Masya Allah. A happy Masya Allah actually as I lurvvveee lamb. I need extra energy for the walking (aka wandering) and extra strength for me to carry my heavy camera bag, lol.
What an experience.
I could see myself exploring Pakistan again and again. Maybe I should start strengthening my knee and my legs so that I could hike up on those beautiful mountains surrounding Skardu and enjoy the smell of the glaciers. I should start tomorrow … lol In Sha Allah.
Time for bed. Catch you again on my next post. Bye for now …
I am in Wellington, New Zealand at this time being.
Accompanying my daughter for her first-year University registration here in the city. Spent 2 weeks here with her, exploring the city and its surroundings while at the same time trying to make her comfortable with this new place where she would call her second home for the next 3 years.
Being a green brain, I got bored with CITY easily. Flipped through the “Free guide to NZ” Arrival magazine that I took from the airport, the turquoise colour of an acid lake in South Crater valley of Tongariro National Park caught my attention. But … naaaah! 8-hours walk of a total 19.4km would kill me instantly … so I think.
Then … I got really bored and kept thinking of that National Park.
The view of the mountains – Mt. Tongariro 1967m, Mt. Ngauruhoe 2291m (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings filming locations) and Mt. Ruapehu 2797m – make me more curious and I can’t hold it anymore and I purchased my Intercity bus ticket from Wellington to National Park station for the next day trip. And booked my 2 nights stay at YHA hostel, National Park.
I said to myself … fine, I just have a look at the park and walk around the easiest trail while enjoying my favourite thing to do when I am alone, breath in and breath out the air of freedom – the mountain fresh air, hmmm nice – it feels like home, comfortable.
I don’t mind travel alone as I don’t have the urge to talk or even binge talk to anyone because most of the time my mind is always fully occupied with my own thoughts and imagination. I tend to forget about my surroundings too.
New Zealanders are super cool and very helpful too.
My first time in NZ … ohh I love New Zealanders as they treated me more as a co-human than as a strange Muslim lady with a head covered wandering loose alone.
The weather was not very good on the day that I arrived at the National Park.
Raining with thick fogs surrounding the valleys. While contemplating either I want to do the crossing or just hang around, a group of people popped into the hostel front desk returning their gears. They just did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the rain and the thick fogs … and with their red and cheerful face even when they were soaking wet.
Damn it … I said to myself.
And this guy from Thailand with a wide happy eye just bluntly tell me … hey! have you done the crossing? If you haven’t, you better just do it … even if the weather is like this, it would be worth every single second.
And guess what … I paid the 40 NZ dollars for the National Park return transportation and rented a waterproof boot, a walking pole and a raincoat. I fixed my mind … I am all in for this. Just like that.
I need to see what the havoc is all about. Well … well … well … bare in mind that I hate trekking, I am not well trained and I am not even sure which box to tick in as Lucy, the front desk lady passed me a form to fill in … which level of mountain trekker am I? should I tick the beginner box?
As I am not even a beginner lol coz I am the type of person if given a choice where to park my car at the shopping mall … I would always choose the one very very very near to the entrance door.
Well … done with that. Lucy asked me … what makes me decide to do this? And I said “hmmm, I just wanna get over this. This curiosity bugs me” and she laughed.
Omg … It was a beautiful sight as I first stepped in the Mangatepopo car park but as I looked at the signboard (above) I got really scared. “Urghh I am so gonna die,” I told myself lol.
Overall from the opptimistic point of view, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is worth every second of the 8 hours walk despite the thick fog and the occasional rain. I managed to click a few photos with my iPhone while struggling to keep up with the trails.
As I continue for another 11.3 km trails to Ketetahi Carpak the weather started getting irritated. The fogs thicken, the temperature started to drop further down (9-12 degree) as the raindrops started to clouds my glasses.
Omg, I was standing on a narrow trail between 2 very steep craters while my feet were shaken due to lack of sugar aka energy and my glasses was clouded. The sulfur smell filled the air. The air was super foggy, truly looked like from a sci-fi movie this place is.
I was tired … near to the point of ‘I want to give up’ mode. I kept reminding myself that if I quit in the middle of the trail, I have to pay NZ500. The cost to rescue you out of this place. But this place even in its worst weather is uniquely beautiful and I couldn’t help wondering to myself, how would this place look like if the weather is beautiful?
It was all foggy and raining the whole journey down towards the carpark and I didn’t take many photos as I was super-super exhausted. This trail is not for beginners but maybe for intermediate trekkers. You need to be well prepared if you decided to do the crossing. It was so hard for me and I still have sore muscles all over my body now (after 3 days).
I cried at the very last 6.3km, as my feet could not take it anymore.
I discovered how does it feels when you are too damn tired but you still need to go on. I discovered that I am mentally strong even when I am alone. I discovered the feeling of helplessness when my feet were out of its physical strength but with my will to go on and survive, I ended up winning.
Other trekkers passed by me one after another leaving me alone struggling with my incapabilities. I discovered how sad it is to be left behind. Oh and I really hate that feeling of being left behind, it is lonely … but I kept my chin up and walk slowly imagining myself doing a brisk walk at my most favourite park.
Would I do this again?
Minus all my self-discovery moments, weirdly I would say yes.
I am not done yet with this place. I definitely would do this again maybe in December when summer is here. I want to capture the beautiful landscape of this place in its most beautiful setting but I am gonna make sure that my body is fit enough to do this … so that I could see more and enjoy more of this place.
Feb 28, 2018. I walk the 19.4km Tongariro Alpine Crossing on my own in 6 hours. I took 37,000 steps that day equivalent to climbing 139 floors. My first time. I survived with a 3-days worth body muscle ache but feeling alive and spiritually nourished. I am glad I decided to give it a try … to push myself to exceed my limit.
That night I had the worst sore muscle ever. Sooth my body with some boiled eggs and a litre of protein (fresh milk). I hit my bed early at 9pm while listening to my best friend’s voice on the phone, soothing me down with his calm voice. He thinks that I am crazy but I assured him that at least I didn’t die.
I took the next day bus to Wellington with a victory and a bliss feeling. Alhamdullilah.
I plan to explore more of NZ during these 3 years, taking it slowly and meaningfully. Learning to improve me … while inspiring my children and people around me to do more in life than just merely living. Anybody can do this. Just do it, no excuses, please.
Excuses are just for the weaklings, and I am not!
Bye for now
New Zealand: Tongariro National Park February 27th to March 1st, 2018
It was all about capturing moments of human interest when I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh recently. My first time and like always, I have a zero expectation of this place … I was like ok Dhaka surprise me, please.
It rained cats and dogs during the first 3 days of my 6 days stay. But being a hardcore wanderer … the rain couldn’t subside my curiosity. I was out wandering along the markets and back lanes of Dhaka … in the rain.
My first impression was that the street smells pleasant.
Surprisingly Dhaka is way cleaner than India, 10 times cleaner than India … I shall think so. At least the street is not treated as the public toilet by the 18.2 million city residents. People everywhere seemed busy and fully occupied here.
My second impression is … the food is good.
It tastes about the same as in India, Pakistan and Nepal. And my taste buds think that the biryani here is very delicious and I had mutton biryani for almost every day here too. Sharing a clip video ↓ of my obsession with mutton biryani … obsession lol?
We traveled in a big group this time around … 15 of us scattered around the street yet we saw completely different views. How awesome was that? When I saw my friends posted their version of ‘the street of Dhaka’, almost always I would pound my head and asked myself about why oh why I did not see it from their angles.
It is proven then … every each of us is unique in our own way.
As I strolled along the streets, villages and some back alleys I saw hard work and hard life here … yet the people of Dhaka is rich in hospitality. Walking and talking with strangers has never felt a burden here … some even invited us to their homes for a cup of cha or tea.
To be honest, there are hundreds and probably thousands of Bangladeshi working here in my home country Malaysia. I see them everywhere and every day too. When I posted my whereabouts to a group of friends … they jokingly teased me on why the need to be in Dhaka when I can just hang out at Pasar Borong Selayang (a wholesale market in the heart of KL) or the famous Chowkit road and just be surrounded by them?
It is normal to have that tendency to treat foreign workers at your country home differently ( I guess I am guilty too) but being in Dhaka … experiencing just a few days living in their home country does change my perspective.
I see them in a different way now … a more human way of looking at fellow humans trying their best to survive in the high-density human populated area on our one and only earth.
Would I recommend Dhaka for your next trip? Should I repeat for another round of trip exploring Dhaka?
………. absolutely, yes!
Thanks for dropping by here at my space… on the last day of 2017. Resolution time … resolution … resolution. Bye …
ps: my January article in NST bots on ‘People at Work’ with Dhaka as the background story.
Re-visiting my India’s photos for my latest NST assignment to celebrate Deepavali or Dewali. All these photos bring back memories of me surviving India and I think its time to repeat India again.
I am yearning to experience another round of emotional burst … in India maybe in 2018.
Sharing a few more photos of the bustling street of Old Delhi, New Delhi.
And my article on India for the NST readers is turning out well too, alhamdullilah. I am sharing it here for my own future reference.
Bye for now.
ps- buzzing head … need to stay focus!