Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcoming the Groom in Bajau Wedding

Hana and Ikhlas wedding was the first wedding I attended in Sabah and it still observing Bajau tradition. Bajaus are known for their expert skills in horse riding and it also displayed in their weddding event.

So, this is the first thing I amazed at the wedding;


Later found out, this is how Bajau welcoming groom to bride's house.

What's more in the Bajau wedding?
Stay tune :')

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weekly Travel Quote


"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going" - Paul Theroux

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekly Travel Photo

Traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam

Crossing a road in Hanoi is challenging, for newly-arrived pedestrians where there is no crosswalk. The road is 90% dominated by crazy traffic of motorcycles and scooters. And they won't make a way for u to cross, DON'T WAIT. After learning how to do it from the local, I prayed it works for me as well and get up on hospital bed for get crushed by stream of motorcyles was the last thing I want to know. Skip the look-right-look-left method, gather your courage (the traffic looks intimidating I tell u) and launch yourselves into the flow of vehicles slowly and trust them motorcylists would weave around u. Do not stop in between until u reached the opposite road as it will give more risk to u. Good luck :D

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Greeting from Sydney!

I never expect I would receive another postcard the next day after Queenstown postcard arrived. The view of Sydney Harbour at dusk is beautiful just like postcard usually has but knowing u too have a beautiful heart to keep sending postcard to me is some of the many things I appreciate. Let's keep it that way Fatt. And let's keep travelling ok?

Greeting from Queenstown

Thanks Mr Postman & Fatt!
I received another postcard to add to my collection last week :)
It's a postcard from Queenstown where Fatt went and stayed for many weeks.
Queenstown from the postcard doesn't seems like a big town but the mountains behind are fantastic! So in love!

P/S: If any of u are travelling soon, feel free to send me a postcard ;')

Friday, January 21, 2011

1 hour in Poring Hot Spring

Ok, let's pick up from where I left before on my KK trip. I haven't finish even for the 1st day *sorry*

After successfully climbing a little of Mount Kinabalu (by car :p), the journey had to continue, soon. Or we wouldn't be able to reach Poring Hot Spring before it closed at 6pm. Overall, we spent almost 3 hours in the Kinabalu Park itself. Pretty long isn't? 

The final destination was Poring Hot Spring. But before reaching there, we planned to stop in between for Pekan Nabalu and Kundasang War Memorial. Pekan Nabalu is a small town selling fresh fruits and vegetables and according to Berry there is also a vantage point for taking beautiful photo. Well, as time was not on our side (or I would rather to consider as we timed ourselves poorly), we just let our car passed by without stopping at Pekan Nabalu and agreed we would stop by when we return later. But it never happened. This is the only memory of Pekan Nabalu I have. The right and left side of the road were occupied by these stall alike selling about the same thing as each other.

The Kundasang War Memorial suppose to be at about 10mins driving from Kinabalu Park according to the info I obtained. Kak Min (Garmin) also confirmed this. But somehow, even when the driving continued to exceed 15mins, the sign board was nowhere to be seen. The junction Kak Min instructed us to turn looked like leading to an uphill construction site, so we passed. When u are in hasty, everything seems to go wrong, no?

We proceeded without Kak Min's help as this famous Poring Hotspring seemed to not exist in her database. It was totally unacceptable to me knowing it is one of the must go place when in KK although it's a little way out of town. So, we just relied on sign board. According to my math knowledge, the sign board here tells that Poring Hot Spring is 38km away from Kinabalu Park. Correct?

When driving 60km/h, I take a very conservative speed here, we should reach after 38mins. Please tell me I'm right. Thank you for agreeing on me :)
Well Sayra was not driving with that speed, we were on average 50km/h. So, it should become 45.6mins driving. Now, tell me where we did wrong for arriving after almost 2 hours driving from Kinabalu Park? We weren't driving 19km/h, in fact we didn't know how to be patient with that speed!

Ting! Now I remember, we did stop for A WHILE to take this photo :p

How can one resist this beautiful scenery as background in photo? Well, I can't :D

and this :p

and this :p

So at 5pm, we reached Poring Hot Spring. The counter guy told we have only 1 hour inside and only the hotspring area was still open. The Butterfly Farm, waterfalls, Bat Caves and canopy walkway had closed :( I blamed myself for the poor time management. Missing all those was the price I had to pay *sob...sob...* No wonder the girl we met inside souvenir shop was shocked when we told we were from KK and not overnight in Poring. This place is far friends, there is a homestay around here for u to stay and have ample time enjoying this park unlike me.

Nevertheless, we made the best from what we had. 1 hour in Poring Hot Spring! I was grateful to reach this place safely.

For your info, this hot spring is still part of the vast Kinabalu Park. It is situated further up Mesilau, the another starting point for climbing Mount Kinabalu which have more challenging trek than Timpohon. And there is another admission fee of RM3 for entering this Poring Hot Spring.

 That's how big the Poring Hot Spring area is.

At the entrance, I was welcomed by hanging bridge, crossing over Mamut Stream where the water is not suitable for drink nor bathe. It could contain higher sulphur content than permitted for such application. Let's go straight to where the hot springs are.

There are few hot spring sections u can choose depends on your liking and privacy. For us, this private cubicle that fits 2 person looked inviting, considering the long drive we just had. It would be amazing to get soaked in the warm water for half an hour to reduce all the body aches for a fresh drive back later.

But our preparation for that day just allowed us to soak our FEET here. We didn't bring any change cloth.

Let's roll up the pants and dip our feet slowly into the hooooooot water. Phew....syok!

Besides these 2 tubs, there are another 2 tubs where u can enjoy this natural hot spring.

Situated slightly elevated from the rest of the tubs is the point source of the hot spring. It is securely guarded with railing to prevent visitors from entering and using it. The water at this point might not be suitable to be used directly prior some treatment. I wonder whether there is any treatment. Chemically to reduce some sulphur or it went to some heat exchanger to lower its temperature to an acceptable level. I don't know.

After that, we had no option than to leave the park as it was almost 6pm. We didn't want to stay any longer either since Sabah gets dark earlier than Peninsula and Kota Kinabalu was still many kilometres away. We also ditched the plan to go to Kampung Luanti for fish massage. So, that's how we spend our 1 hour in Poring Hot Spring :D

So, if u plan to go towards Ranau and return to KK on the same day, start your day as early as possible so u can at least reach KK late evening. Driving at night on winding road without street light at most of the time is dangerous and not advisable. Trust me. Berry warned us but we were trying to be an adventurous duo hehe...

Here is some info on places I missed today. Please do not miss them like I did ok? Then, share your experience to me :')

1) Kampung Luanti
2) Kundasang War Memorial
3) Pekan Nabalu 

This is how beautiful the sky was when we left Poring

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekly Travel Photo

Batak Toba House, Sumatera, Indonesia

Batak Toba is one of the Batak tribes found in Indonesia, mainly in North Sumatera. They are concentrated around Lake Toba, the world's largest caldera lake. In Batak languange, they call this house as Jabu. It is often built elevated from ground level with the wooden pillars resting on a flat stones to avoid flooding and dampness. The roof is in boat shape and sharply projected. Only 3 colours will be painted on the intricate carving at exterior of the house, red, black and white, which respectively represent the 3 spheres of the cosmos; the human world, the underworld and the world of good spirits above.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

People I Met In (South) Korea

I noticed that my verdict towards places I went was greatly affected by people I met. When there are sense of belonging and being warmly welcomed, nothing can discourage me from revisiting. Not even the language barrier.

Two different person can have real opposite opinion on a same place. What makes the different? It's definitely came from the people they met and how they react to them. Me for an instance like to socialize with local and try to be part of their community to know extended knowledge about a country than any guide book offered. Take some time to know the place than 'been there, seen that'. Ah, the reason why I like independent travel. The time is at my hand, not the tour agent ;) Always start with a smile and a simple "hi", you'll do fine.

When I visited Korea for 10 days, it was an experience of a lifetime. The places I went undoubtedly amazing but the short conversation I had with strangers somehow was the the most memorable one. People below, they offered a simple help, they changed my perception on some things, made me think over some issues throughly, made me appreciate things I take for granted before, gave words of encouragement and I even get inspiration from them. Amazing people are everywhere!

Met Yani at KLIA who was on the same flight to Korea for her conference. It's good to know that our government do send their people abroad frequently for such event.

If u have been reading my previous entry, u must recognize this guy, David. A Canadian citizen who is originally from Trinidad & Tobago. A language teacher and also a great companion. Will be meeting him and his wife in Brunei this year, insyaAllah.

Don't u agree that Korean kid is so adorable? This was during our way to Nami Island.

We got stopped by these school girls on our way to Gapyeong train station. And we were mistaken with Indonesian. That sign, is an 'A' sign. I just don't get it why. Been told to do so.

Our un-official translators in Jeju Island. Both were students at Virginia Tech, USA and a beautiful lady with cap behind us is their mother. I swear she has the most beautiful skin ever!

Our tour member in Jeju Trolley, a very friendly Korean uncle trying to converse with us in Korean language. Nice try uncle, that phrase book has put into great use :) 

Oh, another uncle. In Seogwipo. We do looked like tourist right? He offered his help to take our photo and shared a little bit about himself. Kind old man.

At Soingook Theme Park with Korean kids. They have great parents.

Another school girls. Again got mistaken with Indonesian. It must be the hijab we were wearing. Even in their school uniform, they were fashionable. Just look at them, all wearing glasses.

Sayra liked his sincerity. A Korean boy who helped us taking photo.

This is Hisham, Morrocan guy working in US Embassy and married a Japanese girl. Been taking his leave for a year to travel alone. How complicated can that be? This picture was taken when we bid him goodbye as he had to go back to US for some urgent work matters. We were surprised when he asked whether we are Malaysian. It was a correct guess for the 1st time after receiving so many Indonesia answers from others. How did he knows? He has a brother who is doing Quranic frames business in Shah Alam. What a coincident!

Sabiqa, a Thailand girl who knows how to speak Malay and been following her dad for berdakwah in Korea. We met her in mosque compound and it was very kind of her to invite us to her house.

It was not difficult for us to know that this girl is from Malaysia by looking at her look right? She was on student exchange program for few months and showed us the best place to shop :') 

And it was not difficult either to know that girl is from Indonesia. A nursing student, also on exchange program. How I envied them!

While finding our way out from the mosque, found this Bosnian woman with her kids. She was accompanying her husband who was working for that mosque.

This is Salam Restaurant chef. He was the one who prepared us the great food. Managed to call him for a photo session :')

Oh well, this is Jun. He was Beewon counter guy during night time. He also had another job at club nearby and is a great artist. He even gave each of us his art piece. Sis Ernie got the most beautiful piece! It was from him I know that there is a 'Korean age' term. It's something similar like chinese calendar vs gregorian calendar.

I just don't know why uncles like us LOL! These are Japanese uncles we met at DMZ. They enjoyed talking in Japanese with Sis Ernie.

I can't really remember where this guy from. One of the country in Middle East for sure. He was alone in DMZ and later joined us halfway through the course.

These guys were our tour members and students from USA. They travelled to Korea for their semester break. I wish I have a chance to travel since such young age.

Ladies and gentlemen, please don't mess with this guy. He's an army in charge at the first train station towards North Korea. The only army in not-typical uniform u can take picture with. U can put on any expression but he will maintain his heartless face look. 

How strange it is to be talking about nasi lemak, roti canai and teh tarik in Korea? Well not really when these 2 beautiful girls are also from Malaysia. They missed Malaysian food so much and had us to share their craving stories. Both were studying Korean language in Korea. How lucky!

Well, he may looks like an African selling watches and belts from shop to shop. But he is the guy we know on a Hangang river cruise and on vacation with some of his other friends who has a beautiful baby girl.

For some reason, it is stated in our Malaysian passport that the only country we are prohibited to enter is Israel. Well, need not to travel to Israel to meet one, I already met one in Korea. She was on holiday with her sister for a month. Seemed nice to me. Kindness and evil is in the heart, not in the race nor nationality. Enough said.

So, what about u? How u do like strangers?