River Abseiling, Rafting and Caving in Gopeng

Gopeng is small town located in the District of Kampar, Perak, Malaysia. It is situated about 20km south of Ipoh. The town was once was bustling with tin miners and locals who busied themselves with the great tin mining industry of Malaysia until the collapse of the tin empire in 1980s. The town being in close proximity to Kampar river (water rafting, abseiling etc) and limestone outcrops like Gua Tempurung (caving) is becoming a major attraction to outdoor enthusiasts. Lim Bo Seng WWII resistance fighter of Force 136 was captured by the Japanese at a roadblock in Gopeng in 1944.

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Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabula at 4,095m high is one of the tallest mountains in South East Asia (there are a number of mountains in Myanmar and Indonesia West Papua which are higher than Kinabula). It is one of the most accessible high mountains (above 3,000 m) in the world. The starting points of the climbing trails located near the park HQ area are reachable via normal road and the summit can be scaled under normal climbing pace in 2 days 1 night (though top conditioned climbers can climb to the top and back in less than four hours).

There are two main climbing routes: Timpohon trail (6km in length) and Mesilau trail (8km in length and more undulating). Both trails end at Laban Rata (3,314 m asl) where climbers stay for one night before commencing on the summit climb between 2-3 am. From Laban Rata, the climb to the summit is 2.7 km. The aim is to reach the summit before 6 am to see the sunrise. After the summit, majority of the climbers will trek back to Laban Rata (via the same route as coming up) and then back to park HQ (via either Timpohon or Mesilau trail). For the more adventurous, they can make the descend back to Laban Rata via Via Ferrarta which is a mountain path (on the cliff side of the mountain) consisting of a series of rungs, rails and cables embracing the rock face.

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HotBoys Kelong

Hotboys Kelong is situated beside Pulau Sibu about  15 km off the eastern coast of Penisular Malaysia. The nearest jetty to the kelong is Tanjung Leman Jetty, which is just off Kota Tinggi and before Mersing. The kelong is no longer used for its original purpose of fish farming/fishing, but is converted into a hoilday resort for fishing enthusiasts and families or friends seeking some rustic place for chilling out and relaxation. There are fishing rods, tackles and baits available on board. Other activities include mahjong, carom, pool, karaoke, island hopping etc. There are drinking water, sleeping accomodation, toilets and bathrooms on board. Meals which come with fresh seafoods are provided by the kelong. Most of the activities including island hopping and meals are included in the package price. Perhaps the only time hoildayers need to fork out money on board is to buy soft drinks which are excluded from the package but selling at a reasonable price. Continue reading

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Goechala Trek – (India, Sikkim)

Day 1 (Singapore – Kolkata)

Our trip began with a Silkair night flight from Singapore to Kolkata. We felt our minority presence even before actually reaching India as almost all the passengers on board were Indians. The in-flight dinner served was also typical Indian cuisine- a choice of fish curry or vegetables with basmatic rice.  Our plane landed at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (a.k.a Dum Dum Airport) around 12 midnight.

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Gunung Panti

Gunung Panti is located just a few kilometers north of Kota Tinggi in Johor. The mountain is part of the Gunung Panti Recreational Forest – a protected secondary forest (from other online sources, it seems that the forest is not really protected after all – presence of logging and quarrying activities). At 531 metres high, the mountain is considered a training ground for those aspire to climb higher peaks like Mount Kinabula, Mount Rinjani etc. Other activities in the area include birdwatching (in Panti Bird Sanctuary) and waterfall trekking (in Kota Tinggi and Pelepah Falls).

We embarked on a day trip to visit the below places in Kota Tinggi:

  1. Gunung Panti
  2. Kota Tinggi Waterfall
  3. Taman Buaya (Crocodile Farm)
  4. Firefly river cruise

The above attractions are all located within an hour drive from one another and we had a vehicle at our disposal. In order to cover all the attractions, we planned an early start and a late return for our trip Continue reading

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The Istana (“Palace in Malay”) is the official residence and office of the President of Singapore. It is also where the president receives and entertains state guests and as well as the working office of the Prime Minister of Singapore. It is located within a large compound along the bustling Orchard Road.

The Istana is built in the 18th Century, modelled after the neo-Palladian style with a tropical layout, similar to a Malay House. It is surrounded by verandahs, louvred windows and panelled doors to promote cross ventilation, giving rise to an airy and cool interior.

The complex was built by the British Colonial Government to house its Governors. Completed in 1869, it was then known as the Government House. During the Japanese occupation (1942-1945), the house was occupied by Field Marshal Count Terauchi, commander of the Japanese Southern Army, and Major General Kawamura, commander of the Singapore Defense Forces. In 1959, the building was handed over to the Singapore Government when Singapore gained self government. It was renamed as the Istana.

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Mount Belumut and Mount Lambak

Mount Belumut, standing at 1010m,  is the second tallest mountain (after Mount Ophir at 1276 m) in the state of Johor. It is located about 30 Km east of Kluang town. Mount Lambak, standing at 510 m, is a favourite nature hangout for the locals of Kluang. It is located only 5 km from Kluang town.

A 2D 1N “gunung trip” in Kluang to climb Mount Belumut on the first day and Mount Lambak on the second day.

Day 1 Sequence of event:

645 am: Boarded a chartered mini-bus for Belumut from the carpark beside Lavender MRT Station

830 am: Reached Rail Hotel in Kluang to deposit some of our stuff which we did not want to carry up the mountain. Breakfast at Rail Hotel Cafe.

915 am: Boarded minibus to police station to register for the climb (we actually went to the wrong police station and did not manage to get the registration done)

10 am: Reached the park ranger office at the base of Mount Belumut

11 am: Started the climb (the climb was delayed due to some red-tape)

230 pm: Reached the summit. Rested for about 30 mins on the summit.

3 pm: Started the descend.

6 pm: Reached back at the base of Mount Belumut and washed-up

7 pm: Boarded minibus back to Rail Hotel

730 pm: Reached Rail Hotel. Quick shower.

815 pm: Sumptuous dinner at a local restaurant

Day 2 Sequence of event:

715 am: Breakfast at Rail Hotel Cafe

745 am: Hired a taxi to Mount Lambak

800 am: Reached the base of Mount Lambak and started the climb

930 am: Reached the summit

945 am: Started the descend

1100 am: Reached back to the base of  Mount Lambak

12 noon : Checked out of the hotel. Boarded the chartered mini-bus back to Singapore

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Tan Moh Hong Crocodile Farm

“Six decades ago, not long after the end of Second World War, an enterprising Chinese man by the name of Mr. Tan Gua Chua decided that he wanted to share his home with these unloved reptiles. Thus, he set to work, with the help of his family, he transformed the one acre of land that surrounded his home at Upper Serangoon Road into a crocodile farm, which was the first of its kind in Singapore.They started with only ten crocodiles, and with careful breading, the numbers grew rapidly, Being the entrepreneur he was, Mr. Tan opened his farm to the public. Within its premises he set up a factory and a gift shop, where the crocodile skin was processed, made into products then sold at the gift shop. Visitors were free to come in to take a look around without having to pay an entrance fee and this is still the case today.

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