And more durians!

Two days after the durian trip to Bentong, my Kiara friend Margaret organised another trip, this time to Titi in Negeri Sembilan, and asked me if I would like to join. My first response was to decline the invitation, because I thought two durian parties in three days might be a bit too much. But on second thought I accepted, not only for the durians, but also for the fellowship šŸ™‚ .

Titi is only about 50 km away from KL, as the crow flies, but it took us about two hours to reach the village, because you have to drive either via Ulu Langat, or via Kuala Kelawang.

The durian farm is a private farm, where we met friends of Margaret and were welcomed by the caretakers. Many varieties of durians are grown here, it was a pleasure to walk around and pick up durians that were lying on the grass everywhere.

The caretakers had prepared boxes with many different “cultivars” to taste, D24, 101, Tekka, Bright Red, Thai, Mun Chin Hoong.

I love durians, but I am not an expert, it was nice to listen to my friends describing the various fruits as creamy, bitter, sweet etc.

To open durians is not easy, but here they used a nice gadget !

We could buy durians to tapau for very reasonable prices, and many of us used this opportunity, some even bought quite a lot šŸ™‚

The orchard has also rambutan and pulusan trees. Before we looked for them, we were advised to wear a helmet, in case a durian would fall down.

Of course we followed the advice…-)

The rambutans were hanging a bit too high, but the pulasan were easy to collect.

One last picture before we left.

In Titi we walked around a bit. Also here mural art has found its way. The village is known for its sweet pineapples, so not surprisingly you find pineapples in the mural paintings.

Even the Chinese temple has been decorated!

Before going home, we had a drink and some food in restaurant Sin Wong Kok. After all the durians I was not really hungry but thirsty šŸ™‚ .There was toddy!

While I was pouring my drink, I didn’t realise that there was somebody behind me, pulling faces!

It was a very nice outing. Here is what I bought to take home, one Tekka durian and one D24.

Durians! and more

When my friend Pola Singh asked me last week if I would like to join him for a durian trip to Bentong, I accepted immediately. I love the King of Fruits, but here in KL they are often very expensive. The trip was organised by his schoolmates from Malacca High School

Meeting point was the Bentong market, where we started with breakfast in the popular Yuen Kee Kopitiam.

We had Yong Tau Foo and of course Wan Tan Mee, the specialty of the shop.

Leo, the organiser of the trip, had started his working life as a teacher in Bentong and still knew his way. He showed us a few of the tourist attractions of the town. Apparently the Bentong Walk is similar to the Jonker Walk in Melaka, a Saturday night market.

These days there is a proliferation of mural art in Malaysia. It started in Penang, followed by KL, Ipoh, Taiping, Gopeng, KKB and now also in Bentong. There are probably more, but these are the ones I have visited.

Actually I am a bit unhappy with this mushrooming. As more and more suitable walls in Malaysia will be covered with mural art, its impact will get less.

Having said that, I must admit that the murals in Bentong are well done. It is nice that you can interact with many of them.

And that is of course what we did šŸ˜‰ .

A few more examples.

After our walk we walked back to our cars and went on our way to the durian farm. On our way we passed the attractive Pasar Besar and the Mosque.

The durian farm can be reached from the road leading to the Chamang waterfall. Parking our cars beside the road, we walked the last part to the farm , where we were welcomed by the owner, Law Kam Kuan, a former student of Leo. She explained that no pesticides are used, accepting that squirrels or monkeys will sometimes damage the fruits.

The next hour I had no time to take pictures, because I was busy tasting the different brands of durians šŸ™‚ . We started with Kampung Durian,, followed by D24 and finally Musang King. Here are some pictures I took after I had eaten enough.

Our next stop was at the Chamang waterfall. It is one of the popular waterfalls in Malaysia, access is very easy, there are toilets, changing rooms etc. I have visited the fall many times, but the last time was already 7 years ago.

The fall is powerful, but also dangerous. Almost yearly people drown here!

I took a short video of the waterfall.

The program for the rest of the day included lunch, ice cream, tea, but we didn’t feel hungry anymore, so we decided to drive back to KL after the waterfall.

A nice , well organised trip. Click here for a video report by Pola.

Pat and Roger’s visit

The first time we met Pat and Roger must have been around 2002, when we were living in Goodyear Court 7. Soon we became friends, they attended my 60th birthday celebration, I visited them in Basildon (UK) and later in Melbourne, they visited me in Amsterdam, we went on trips together to Macau, Chiang Mai and China and of course we had numerous outings in Malaysia šŸ˜‰ .

Last month they were back in Malaysia, we met them for dinner and discussed where we should go for our next outing. We decided to make a 2D1N trip with an overnight stay in Ipoh.

We started with breakfast near our condo. Half-boiled eggs and toast, and buns with dry meat and chicken floss. Of course with coffee.

Our first destination was Sekinchan, where we visited the taoist Nan Tian Temple, dedicated to the Nine Emperor Gods. The temple is surrounded by paddy fields. Pity that the paddy had been harvested, so the fields were rather brownish.

You can climb the pagodas beside the temple. We climbed the left one, Aric the right one to take a picture of us. Likewise we took a picture of him…:-)

Of course Aric had to take some “artistic” pictures.

Our next destination was Parit Baru where Aric was born. Instead of going back to the main road, we took the parallel road through the paddy fields and that was a lucky decision, because we passed a field where they had planted the paddy seedlings. Beautiful fresh green color.

While we were passing by, workers were collecting the seedlings to transport them to the fields where they would be planted. Fascinating to watch. I took a short video.

In Parit Baru we made a short stop at Aric’s birthplace, before continuing to one of the many seafood restaurants in the region.

The Yuan Yuan restaurant is run by the family, the interior is basic and the food delicious.

After lunch we made a short stop in Teluk Intan to see its leaning tower. Like its famous partner in Pisa, you must choose your location to see the slanting šŸ™‚

We had booked two rooms in the Ipoh Bali hotel. Aric and I had stayed here already two times, we liked the atmosphere, and expected Pat and Roger to appreciate it too. They did šŸ™‚

We had made reservations for rooms on the ground floor, which have a verandah with a koi pond. So relaxing. The reception provides you with fish food, don’t use other food!

After a little rest, we met our friend Keith Ong at the Yum Yum restaurant, where he had booked a table for us. Very nice food!

After dinner we drove to Ipoh Old Town, for a short walk. The town hall, one of Hubback’s creations, was beautifully illuminated. In front of the Railway Station, another of his masterworks, colorful fountains created a playful atmosphere.

I have said it before and will say it again: In my opinion Ipoh is much more a Bandar Warisan (Heritage Town) than Taiping, the “sleepy hollow” which I love and consider as my second hometown.

In 2016 I visited Ipoh to have a look at the mural art created by Zacharevic, one of my favourite artists. I wrote a blog about it: Ipoh Murals. Pat and Roger had not yet seen them, so we showed them a few.

There is something interesting about the Hummingbird mural šŸ˜‰ . When Zacharevic created the mural in 2013, the bird was hovering in front of a tree. In 2016 the tree was gone, probably cut down. And now there was a tree again! Can it have grown in three years or was it replanted?

As in Penang, also in Ipoh there has been a proliferation of mural art in recent years, which is regrettable, IMHO. Soon all suitable walls will be covered with mural art, its impact getting less, a law of diminishing returns.

Here is a selection of what we saw during a walk in Ipoh Old Town. They are of varying quality, sometimes in the style of Zacharevic, often very mediocre.

There is another a bit worrying development going on, similar to Penang. There is beautiful heritage, like the Han Chin Pet Soo museum. But around the corner, Concubine Lane has been “spruced up” for tourists and now has losts its character. And not far away, still in Old Town, there is the new Upside Down museum, not related at all to heritage. I would be happy if the development and maintenance of Old Town Ipoh would be more consistent.

Before going for lunch, we had a look at the J.W.W Birch Memorial. Birch was the first British resident of Perak, very unpopular with the Malay nobility and assassinated in 1875. Two Malay noblemen, Dato Maharaja Lela and Dato Sagor were seen as the leaders behind the killing and hanged in 1877. The memorial was built in 1909 behind the town hall, between two roads, Station Road and Post Office Road.

Why am I telling all this šŸ˜‰ ? Well, nowadays of course the two Malays are seen as as “freedom fighters” ! To honour them, Station Road has been renamed as Jalan Dato Maharajalela and Post Office Road is now Jalan Dato Sagor !

We had lunch at Chang Jiang White Coffee, another gem we discovered during an earlier visit. Not only is the coffee good, the food is also nice and the atmosphere is very relaxed, with a young crowd.

Before driving back to KL, we visited one more temple, the Miaw Yuan Chan Lin temple. We had found this remote, little known Thai Buddhist temple on the slopes of Gunung Rapat during an earlier visit, see my blog Gunung Rapat Cave Temples .

Before exploring the temple we had a look at two cages with monkeys on the temple grounds. They looked aggressive and unfriendly, not clear why they were kept there. The walls of the cages were made of a mesh with small openings. But not small enough, when we stood watching the poor animals, suddenly one of them put his arm through an opening and grabbed Roger’s glasses! We were shocked. What to do?

The residing monk came to help us, by spraying the monkey with a garden hose. That did not work, he got more angry and still kept the spectacles in his hands. Next the monk tried to give him some bananas, that worked better, the monkey dropped what was left of the specs, fortunately next to the mesh, so Aric was able to retrieve the twisted frame and two glasses

Roger can hardly see anything without his spectacles and had no spare with him. But Aric has been working in an optical shop, long time ago, and managed to repair the specs provisorily. While he was busy, I inspected the monkey cage and saw a notice we had overlooked!

After recovering from this unexpected “adventure”. we explored the temple a bit. The friendly monk didn’t mind having his picture taken, the other monk also didn’t mind because it was a statue šŸ˜‰ .

The reclining Buddha is quite impressive.

Two statues of the Buddha. Left a very common asana with the left hand in his lap, and the right hand held upwards, facing outwards. Right a laughing Buddha, carrying two balls in his hands.

Two more pictures of this interesting temple. Some beautiful limestone formations.

It was a nice outing. We will not easily forget the adventure with the monkeys!

Two caves and a waterfall

A few weeks ago my friend Henry Chan whatsapped me about a”new” waterfall in the Sg Siput region, Lata Penyel, and a cave south of Ipoh, Gua Air. He had visited both places. and when I showed my interest, he said that he was willing to guide me there.

We share an interest in nature, especially waterfalls, and we have made several trips together. Here are the reports : Trip to Kedah and Penang, Tasik Kenyir and Trip up North .

Henry and his wife Soon Lay live in Lunas, but they also have a house in Taiping, my 2nd hometown šŸ™‚ . During my recent visit to Taiping, they also came to Taiping, and from there we made a day trip to Ipoh. A long trip, because we had decided to include a second cave, Gua Naga Mas, located not far from Gua Air.

They picked me up from my hotel at 7 am and first we drove to Bercham for breakfast at Restoran New Paradise. Food is another shared interest, the restaurant is famous for its Char Siew Pao. We bought a few for lunch, I had Yong Tau Foo for breakfast. A good start of the day!

Our first destination was the Gua Naga Mas (Golden Dragon Cave). We had never been there, but Bernard, another friend of mine, had visited this cave and given us coordinates and directions.

The cave has been in the news recently because of a fossil animal skeleton inside the cave. In this newspaper article: Rare tiger fossil in cave at Gopeng, Perak, must be preserved more information can be found. My caving friend Liz Price has reported several times about the cave and the fossil, advocating that it should be better preserved.

October last year the Kinta Valley has been declared a National Geopark, hopefully the vulnerable limestone hills and caves will be better protected now against the ongoing quarrying onslaught!

With Bernard’s directions we found the location easily. The limestone cave is part of a Buddhist temple, many of these cave temples can be found around Ipoh, see for example my blog Gunung Rapat Cave Temples . Compared with those temples, this one looks rather neglected. Steps lead to the upper cave with the fossil.

Information boards tell about the history of the fossil. They look new.

Here is the fossil. It could be a tiger, or a leopard, or even a bear. It could be more than 300.000 year old, according to a recent study.

It is not that easy to spot, you must know where to look ;-). We were the only visitors. Using some rickety scaffolding you can come a bit closer to the fossil. Apparently there is work going on and probably in the future the cave and also the temple will look better.

A few more pictures

View of the surroundings from the cave entrance. A lot of industrial development. The hills are part of Gunung Lanno, our next destination.

For the second cave, Gua Air (Water Cave) , we drove a few km north, to Gunung Lanno. Extensive quarrying takes place here, as can be seen in this GE screenshot. To visit the cave, you have to enter the quarry site, permission was easily given.

Before we entered the cave, we first drove a bit farther, where the cave exits in a beautiful lake with crystal clear water.

Nice surroundings.

Back to the cave entrance. Henry had brought helmets and headlights.

Entering the cave was a bit tricky, using a ramshackle ladder. Some steps were already missing, and going down another one broke loose.

The cave itself was disappointing, only a short stretch, and probably not natural, but blasted. However, at the end you reach the small lake, really beautiful.

I was a bit worried if we would be able to climb up the ladder, which was now missing one more step, but we managed šŸ™‚ . Outside the cave we followed a trail to the lake. That was more interesting than the cave itself.

Visiting the two caves had taken only taken about two hours, less time than we had expected. Henry decided that on our way to the waterfall, we could have lunch in the Old Friend Restaurant in Kuala Kuang (Chemor), famous for its Roast Duck. Delicious!

Our last destination was the Lata Penyel waterfall. In 2015 I visited waterfalls in the Sg Siput region: Sg Siput Waterfall Recce. I ended this blog with:

From Bawong 4WD roads lead to remote Pos Piah and Kg Kuala Mu. There must be dozens  if not hundreds of waterfalls along these roads, waiting for intrepid explorers!

A few years later the road to Kg Kuala Mu has been tarred and is now accessible for normal cars. But it still a 2.5 hour drive from Ipoh to Kuala Mu!

The Tengkoh Penyel waterfall is near the small Pos Yum kampung. and can be reached on an easy trail of about 600 m. The kampung folk (Temiar O.A.) maintain the trail and are doing a good job.

The tall waterfall is a real beauty, very scenic. There is only a wading pool, so it is safe for non-swimmers.

The tall waterfall is a real beauty, very scenic. There is only a wading pool, so it is safe for non-swimmers.

The Orang Asli have done a marvelous job, they have built a few shelters and huts near the waterfall. You can rent them and even stay overnight

Some more pictures

Before driving back to Taiping, we still had time to have a look at Kampung Kuala Mu. A very winding road, climbing to an altitude of 600 m. Surprisingly there were many people there, bikers mainly, staying overnight in one of the huts. Well organised.

It was still a long way back to Taiping, where we arrived around 7 pm. Here is a Google Earth screenshot, with the location of the two caves, and the road from Chemor to the waterfall and Kuala Mu.

We finished this rewarding outing with a dinner at Thomas’ Western Food in Barrack Road. Henry had brought a few bottles of toddy!

Looking forward to a next adventure with them!

Versatile Perak

In my opinion Perak is the most interesting state of Malaysia, regarding nature, culture and history. A rich history, many historical towns , numerous waterfalls. Nice food too..:-)

Recently I visited Perak with my friends Paul and Fahmi. We stayed two nights in the Cititel hotel in Ipoh.

On our way to Ipoh we first visited a waterfall near Sungkai, the Enggang waterfall. At the end of the road leading to the well-known Sungkai Hot springs, a clear trail starts, leading in about one hour to the waterfall.

The waterfall is not visible from the trail, but of course you can hear it.Ā  We first arrived halfway the fallĀ  (left picture). After some scrambling down the slope we managed to reach the bottom. (right picture)

We had visited this waterfall a couple of years ago. Not many people come here, the fall is still pristine! And the flow of water was very impressive this time.

After lunch in Sungkai, we continued to Ipoh, checked in into our hotel, took some rest and went out for dinner. Many times I have eaten in one of the famous chicken taugeh kwai teow places, but this time we were looking for halal food and an Ipoh friend had suggested a few suitable restaurants. The Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice turned out to be a good choice.

On our way back to our hotel, we passed a few interesting buildings. Left theĀ Chua Cheng Bok building (1930s) in Art Deco style, recently painted in bright blue colors. Would you guess that the beautiful building in the right picture originally has been a Fire Station? It was built here in 1913 and upgraded in 1936. Served asĀ Fire and Rescue Department until 1992.

For our breakfast next morning we went to the Halal Dimsum Cafe in Greentown another suggestion from my Ipoh friend. Very good dimsum!

On our program for the morning was another waterfall, the Lata Ulu Chepor, on the outskirts of Ipoh. It was a bit ofĀ  failure, I had forgotten to mark the locations of the two (minor) falls in my GPS, and we passed them without noticing them. The trail continued, might lead to a taller waterfall upstream, but we returned, found a nice place to have a bath. Crystal clear water.

I

I had in mind to visit another waterfall in the same region, but this hike had taken quite a lot of time, so we decided to skip it and go for lunch. Nasi Ganja! Using Google we had found the address. When we arrived there, we noticed a big crowd queuing, but no sign of Nasi Ganja. It turned out that this was the shop, all Ipoh people know it as nasi ganja, but the shop can not advertise with the name as ganja is an illegal drug. . Nice nasi kandar, apparently addictive…:-)

In the afternoon Paul and I explored Ipoh Old Town. Paul had published an album about Ipoh Heritage, so he could show me around. We started from our strategically located hotel.

Around the corner St Michael’s Institution, one of the famousĀ  Ipoh schools, founded by the La Salle Brothers in 1912. The impressive building is from 1922.

Next to it the India Muslim Mosque. Construction started in 1909

Below left the entrance of the Royal Ipoh Club, records go back to 1895, but it may be even older. Right the High Court buildings, designed byĀ Arthur Benison Hubback and built 1926-28.

Two other impressive buildings in Ipoh have also been designed by Hubback. Construction of the Town Hall started in 1914 and was completed two years later. Is is really a monumental building.

Opposite the Town Hall, the Railway Station, nicknamed the Taj Mahal of Ipoh by locals. Officially opened in 1917. The first floor used to be a hotel, the Majestic Station Hotel, and many years ago I have been staying there several times. It was already rundown at that time, dirty sheets, cockroaches. Now it is closed, although there still exists a website , promoting itsĀ  “superbly-comfortable accommodation”Ā  !

Coming from the Railway Station, the Birch memorial is located behind the Town Hall. J.W.W. Birch was the first British resident of Perak, assassinated in 1875 at Pasir Salak by Malay noblemen, Dato Maharaja Lela and Dato Sagor.

The monument, also a clock tower, was erected in 1909 by his son, E.W. Birch, at that time the (much more popular) resident of Perak. Nice detail: the roads left and right of the monument were originally named Station Road and Post Office Road.Ā After independence they have been renamed. The new names?Ā Jalan Dato Maharajalela and Jalan Dato Sagor !

Another interesting detail.Ā OnĀ  four civilisation panels around the tower, 44 famous figures in the world history are portrayed, for example Buddha, Newton, Confucius, Galilei etc. One of the figuresĀ  has been painted over. Guess who…:-)

Two bank buildings. Left the impressive building of the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank (1931), right the Chartered Bank (1924)

There are more historical bank buildings in the same district, for example the Mercantile Bank (1931) , designed in Art Deco style by Iversen.Now it is housing the Elken company, note the ugly banner on the facade. The OCBC bank is now occupying the building of theĀ Straits Trading Company (1907).

The Perak Hydro building (1930s) belonged to theĀ Perak River Hydro-Electric Company who built the Chenderoh dam in the Perak river, the oldest reservoir in Malaysia

Chung Thye Phin was born in Taiping and became a wealthy tin miner and (the last) Kapitan Cina. The building below carried his name and was built in 1907. In its early days it used to be a medical hall. Beautiful facade.

Walking around in Ipoh Old Town, I was surprised about the numerous interesting heritage buildings. Generally well preserved.

At first I thought that this could be the exception: overgrown decaying shoplots. But I was mistaken…:-)

Actually it is part of Kong Heng square. Not overgrown, but modern vertical gardens..:-), The first floor housesĀ Ā Sekeping Kong Heng , will try to stay there during my next visit

Three more buildings. Left the Han Chin Pet Soo building, now housing the Hakka tin mining museum.Ā Originally the home of the Hakka Tin Miners Club, founded in 1893 and rebuilt in 1929. In the middle a nameless house, under renovation. And right the building of the FMS Bar and Restaurant, an icon from Ipoh’s glorious past. A couple of years ago it was hoped that the glory would come back after a ambitious restoration. But during my visit it was closed without a sign of life. A failed project?

And here are two more buildings from a different era. Left the Labrooy House, modernist design, completed between 1960 and 1961. Right from the same period, the first parking garage of Malaysia!

Finally here are two street views of Leech Street (now Jalan Bandar Timah). Beautiful. Followers of my blog know that I love Taiping as my 2nd hometown. Pity you can not find similar street views in Taiping šŸ™

To be honest, I was very impressed by the heritage of Ipoh Old Town. Taiping’s history starts earlier, it boasts on its many “Firsts” and is promoted as Bandar Warisan (Heritage Town), but when you compare the two towns, Ipoh deserves this title more.

Of course I had to walk through Concubine Lane. After reading negative reports about how tourism had destroyed the character of this street,Ā  I was prepared for the worst. Actually it was not too bad, not worse than Petaling Street in KL…:-)

Two year ago I visited Ipoh to see theĀ Zacharevic murals, see my blog Ipoh Murals. Mural Art has been mushrooming all over Malaysia the last few years and also in Ipoh there has been copycatting. NotĀ  really a positive development.

We had dinner our last night in another Chinese Muslim restaurant, this time Fahmi’s discovery. Roast duck, Mongolian chicken, bitter gourd with salted egg. A nice, filling meal!

The next morning, before checking out,Ā  a view from my room in Cititel.

We had breakfast in the Medan Selera near the BIrch memorial with soft-boiled eggs on toast, an Ipoh specialty. Yummie!

Our plan was to visit the Hakka Tin mining museum in theĀ Han Chin Pet Soo building, but they have only guided tours and the timing was not suitable for us. So we started our trip back to KL.

Our first stop was at the Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge. I have visited this gargantuan relic from the tin mining era several times in the past, was able to explore the dredge freely, climbing up to the upper level, sometimesĀ  bit scary, but fascinating. Since a few years the situation has changed, there were plans to make it a No 1 tourist attraction and it was closed, you could only see it from the outside.

Friends had told me that it was now open to the public, and I wanted to have a look. I was a bit shocked by the ticket price, RM 10 for Mykad holders, RM 20 (!) for foreigners. Senior citizens get a 50 % discount, but still too expensive, as at the moment only the (less interesting) lower level is accessible. Although the guided tour was informative, better wait until the whole dredge can be visited.

Left the ambitious development plan for the Tanjung Tualang dredge. Rather unrealistic and completely over the top, in my opinion. Right a simpler version. I got the impression from our guide that the project has been put on hold after the recent change in government. Good, the dredge itself can become a tourist attraction, like Kellie’s castle, no needĀ  to surround it with all kind of nonsense.

During my earlier visits the dredge pontoon was tilting because of leakage, that has been stabilised now. Right a small canteen, closed when we visited the dredge, but probably more busy during weekends. There is alsoĀ  small museum.

Our next target was the Salu waterfall, 6 km north of Kampar. Easy access, two waterfalls. Suitable for senior citizens..:-)

From the carparkĀ a cemented path leads in a few minutes to the lower Salu fall.Ā 

The upper fall can be reached in about 15 minutes via a clear trail. There are more waterfalls upstream, but these require jungleĀ  trekking.

Our last destination was the Tin Mining museum in Kampar. Until a few weeks ago I had never heard about this museum, but apparently it exists already for seven years! It was a pleasant surprise.

As the signboard says, it is mainly dedicated to open tin mining, using gravel pumps.Here is an interesting pdf file about Gravel Pump Tin Mining. Impressive machinery, I understand there are guided tours, which would really have been useful here.

Besides the machinery, there is a big hall with lots of information. A few scale models of tin mines giveĀ  a good impression of the process.

Both inside and outside the halls dioramas have been created of the various activities related to tin mining. Also here a guide would be useful, or leaflets with information.

After our museum visit we had lunch in the mamak next to it, and then it was time to go home.

Versatile Perak!

Journal 1-9-2014

Time flies. My last journal was published seven weeks ago, just after I came back to Malaysia. After recovering from jet lag (not so difficult this time), I settled down in my usual routine. A morning walk in Bukit Kiara followed by breakfast (RM 1 only!) at IKEA. Spending a lot of time with my laptop, actually too much, especially now that I have become addicted to acomputer game called Ā Hay Day Ā šŸ™

But of course also quite a lot of social activities, like meeting friends and enjoying food. Here is a selection of (food) pictures.

Soon after I was back home and acclimatised, the urge came to visit a waterfall. So I eagerly accepted my friend Siang Hui’s invitation for a recce to a remote waterfall in the Semenyih region. It would be a long hike, we had to leave early. Three of us, my friend Teoh also joined. Maybe because I did not sleep well the night before, but after about one hour on our way, I did not feel well, a tight feeling in my chest. After a discussion with my friends, we decided to go back.

I was worried (and not only I…haha), so I made an appointment with my cardiologist for an echo and a stress test. I could see him only after Hari Raya (the end of Ramadan), so I kept quiet a bit for a while. Ā Quite relieved when the results were ok!

With Hari Raya we visited Aric’s hometown. It is an old Malay custom to fire impressive coconut palm canons, celebrating theĀ Hari RayaĀ Aidilfitri festival. And impressive it was, I was worried for a while that it might affect my hearing. I wrote a separate blog about it: Boom Boom!!

Hari Raya

After I had received my clean bill of health, I was looking forward to meet Akke and Pim and show them a few nice places in my 2nd home…-). Ā Akke is the daughter of friendĀ of mine, who, with her future husband, was traveling in Malaysia. We visited the Kanching waterfalls and the Batu Caves andĀ completed it with a deliciousĀ dinner, prepared by Aric.

Here are a few recent pictures of Bukit Kiara, where I have my daily exercise. I have written many blog posts about it, you can find them hereĀ . I am quite pessimistic about its future, JLNĀ (the National Landscape Department) is trying to transformĀ it into a concentration camp, including barbed wire fencing ..:-( Ā But still beautiful, along the budding Penchala river I have hidden another of my geocaches.

I am a member of the Taiping Heritage Society. I joined them in May on a trip to Lenggong. A few weeks ago they organised a members night and asked me to give short talk about this trip. Here are some pictures. I had prepared too much material for my talk, so I have published this material in a separate blog post Ā Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley

On my way back from Taiping, I decided to stop at Pos Dipang to meet my Orang Asli friend Jinnah and his family. Recently he has been our guide to the spectacular Pos Dipang waterfalls.Very nice people. They belong to the Semai tribe, my Bahasa (Malay language) is bad, but we could communicate quite well in broken English.

Jinnah & family

To end this journal, a few pictures of a trip made with Aric to a Hot Springs near Bentong. I had passed the place before several times, the hot springs were not well maintained. But now some renovation had taken place, itr looked a lot better. The water was not too hot and you could use the mud from the bottom to scrub your skin…:-)

 

Penang Food

When you are not interested in food, you can skip this post..:-)

Penang is a paradise for foodies. Do a Google search for “Penang food paradise” and you will get many pages with hits. Our last trip to Penang had the Murals as destination and the Thaipusam festival, but of course also FOOD! Here is part of what we had during our stay. Makan Non Stop..:-) For my non-Malaysian followers: Makan = Eating in Bahasa. The traditional welcome greeting Ā when you arrive at a friend’s or family house is: Sudah makan? Have you eaten already?

Penang Food

On our way to Penang, we had dinner in Nibong Tebal at the Law Chang Kee restaurant. Famous for its Crab Porridge and its Boiled Baby Octopus. Don’t say aargh, the octopus was delicious. We paid RM 38 for our meal for two..:-) Ā That is about 8-9 Euro.

We arrived in our hotel quite late, but after a shower we decided to have an evening walk. Visiting some of the murals, and ending at the China House, really a surprise for me. Beautifully renovated old houses with a marvelous selection of coffee and cakes! Really worth a visit…:-)

The next morning we had breakfast in a mamak stall near to our hotel. A friend of us, living in Penang, had suggested it to us as possibly the best Roti Chanai in townĀ at Transfer Road.Ā It was crowded and basic but very VOF (Value for Money)

For our lunch we had planned to go to Balik Pulau for the Assam Laksa, But it was not our lucky day, the Chuan Hong stall, Aric’s favourite, was closed. So instead we had to go for Mee Rebus, in a nearby stall, also not bad.

Assam Laksa closed

Mee Rebus

I will not mention all the other places we visited during our trip, only the last one. It is the HUG restaurant in Jalan Hutton, also quite near to our hotel Mingood. Basically I am a hawker food lover, no fancy restaurants. So when a friend suggested the House of Udang GalahĀ , my first impression was: too posh for me. But looking at the menu, Ā the reasonable prices and the positive review of my friend, we decided to give it a try.

What an enjoyable evening we had! Excellent service, and good food. Only problem was that we ordered to0 many dishes, you should go there with a bigger group!

Dinner at HUG

Here a few more pictures. We had Scallops as a starter, Seafood soup, then Peking Duck (first the skin, then the meat), the Udang Galah, and a combination of four vegetables. Finally we could not resist the temptation of theĀ Baked Red Wine Syrup Apple as a dessert.

After this delicious (but also expensive!) dinner, we decided to skip the next day’s lunch at Pulau Aman. We will keep that for a next visit. First have to loose some calories…:-)

Journal 30-12-2013

One more day to go, high time to write a journal about the last weeks of 2013, so I can start 2014 with a clean slate…:-)

We went back to Sabak Bernam two times, related to the passing away of Aric’s father, 20 November last year. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, many events follow the lunar cycle, so on 9 November this year there was a memorial ceremony. A meal for the deceased, prayers and the burning of gifts for him in the hereafter.

Ceremonial meal

Burning of gifts

The second time was at the Winter Solstice, an important solarĀ event in the Chinese calendar. We went to the cemetery, near Bidor. Aric took a beautiful picture of the whole family around the grave

cemetery

Here are a few more pics

We attended the wedding dinner of one of Aric’s cousins. In traditional style, with nine courses, cutting of the cake and yam seng singing.

Family picture

Nine courses

Of course I had several meetings with friends. Sometimes I am lazy to take pictures, but here are two. A visit to my friend Khong’s house to admire his garden and a dinner with friends of Aric in Chinese Muslim restaurant nearby our condo. Quite good food.

Meeting Khong and George

Dinner with Denise and Faresh

I made two waterfall trips with Eddie Yap. He guided us to a remote waterfall, which he had visited once before. So remote that even he, an experienced guide, could not find it back during the first trip..:-). We found a waterfall, but not the one he had in mind. It was a nice trip anyway, we had a relaxing bath in hot springs near KKB. Of course we had to come back, to find the missing fall! This time Eddie found it, a very pristine fall, access not so easy. A well hidden secret, we will keep it that way…:-)

We celebrated Christmas in the usual way, relaxing at home with a nice home-cooked dinner…:-) Ā Poached egg on mushroom with spinach as a starter, baked salmon with pak soy as main course, blue cheese (for me only, haha), and zabaglione with forest fruits as dessert. Cleaning the kitchen later was quite a job!

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After dinner

We always create our own (digital) Christmas and New Year card. This time using the Christmas decoration in our living room. Aric used his Photoshop expertise to “clean” the picture, I added the text.

Before

After

What better way to end the year than by visiting a waterfall! My Dutch friend and former colleague Dick was in Malaysia and wanted to visit a waterfall. Paul was also interested. Chiling is only open to the public during weekends, so there was a crowd. I have been there so many times now, but each time it is again a pleasure to visit this most popular waterfall in Selangor. This picture was a lucky shot, it looks as if only the two girls are there!

Chiling waterfall

We visited first the upper fall, as usual less crowded, then the lower fall. On our way back we had lunch in the WK restaurant in Ulu Yam. Here are more pictures.

 

Europe trip 2013 Barcelona & Amsterdam

After our two-week trip through Europe we needed some time to relax and do our laundry. Only a few days because we had one more destination on our program: Barcelona in Spain. The town of Gaudi, the country of paella and sangria!

It was a short visit of three nights only. Instead of looking for a hotel we found a nice apartment, a loft on the fourth floor of an old building, near to the Ramblas and in the middle of the Red Light district…:-) The dimensions must have been something like 30 x 5 meter!


Of course we spent most of our time in Barcelona visiting and admiring the wonderful works of art created by Gaudi.. A pity that we were not the only ones! I have created a separate album about Barcelona on my Stuif’s Adventures site. Here only four pictures of the places we visited
We had lots of tapas and sangria. Not always top quality. One night we had really a wonderful meal in a local tapas bar suggested to us by the hostess of our apartment. Spanish style, We started our dinner at about 10 pm..:-). Delicious food. The name of the restaurant isĀ CaƱeteĀ and you should not miss it when you visit Barcelona!
Back in Amsterdam, we had a few days left before Aric went back to Malaysia. The weather was still ok, so we looked for some more of the KLM houses. And we visited the Rijksmuseum, opened last year after an extensive renovation. With a spectacular result, I will post a separate blog later about it. We had a look at the Night Watch by Rembrandt, one of the most famous paintings in the world. Also here we were not the only ones…:-)
Night Watch

Here are a few more pictures of these last few days in Amsterdam

Europe trip 2013 part 1

I will split this post in a few parts, because it covers a two-week trip through Europe, visiting Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein (!), Switzerland and France. I took more than 1000 pictures. Don’t worry, I will publish here only a few..:-)

We started with a long (750 km) drive from Amsterdam to Regensburg in Bavaria. This is a very old town and a Unesco World Heritage site.

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It is located on the Danube river, has many beautiful buildings and is famous food-wise for its sausages. Less touristic than its neigbours NĆ¼rnbergĀ and Salzburg, it was a nice surprise for us.

The next day we crossed the border with Austria on our way to a tiny hamlet with a funny name: Fucking. There is nothing to see, there is not even a shop, but every year thousands of tourists come here to have their picture taken with the signboard for the village. And so did we …:-)

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Salzburg was our next destination, the town where Mozart was born. We stayed in Hotel Mozart, had dinner in Cafe Mozart, visited the house where he lived and went to a concert where his music was played. The Salzburger Festspiele had just finished, but there were still many tourists. A beautiful town with the castle Hohensalzburg high above the town.

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We stayed two nights in Salzburg, the weather was splendid. We really enjoyed the Hohensalzburg castle, spent almost a full day there. The Hellbrun Palace, just outside the town, was fun, with its trick fountains. Unbelievable that an archbishop was responsible for it. Here is a collection of Salzburg pictures.

From Salzburg we continued our trip to Hallstatt, that will be part two of this report. Here already two galleries about the whole trip. First some pictures of the places where we stayed overnight. We like Guesthouses, Pensions, Bed en Breakfast places better than the big hotels.

And of course we had lots of food…:-) The German and Austrian cuisine are not very refined, but they serve in general huge portions. With lots of beer.In France we had a few times really fine dining.