Monday, June 12, 2017

Fraser's Hill Glamping

Camping at Fraser's Hill on 10-11 June 2017: en route to Kuala Kubu Baru for a cup of coffee, we visited the orchid farm at Hulu Yam Baru; at night, viewing of tarantula spiders (where this species can only be found in Fraser's Hill); next morning, relaxing at Jeriau waterfall.

Team members: KC Leong, Chong YF, ChuahTK, Jason Khoo, Elfreda Ong, Yong Fei, Jun, Adelyn Liew, Maan Li, and Siew Fun.

These few days, the weather was very dry and hot in Kuala Lumpur. Because of the hot weather, the temperature in the mountains at night was considerably cool only. Though it was a clear sky that we could see the full moon and the stars, it was quite misty and damp from 9 to 11 p.m. that our tents were wet with moisture.

When we arrived at the campsite, there were already two big groups of family members (either friends or relatives) already there. The campsite was big enough to accommodate our group comfortably. These groups of campers lacked consideration; not spending time peacefully and harmoniously with the nature and ignoring the presence of other campers: the adults were chatting and laughing very loudly for hours until 2:30 a.m.!

Overall it was a simple and fun outing spending a night in the cool mountains and woke up by the melodious tone of chirping sound of birds for a respite from the hot days in Kuala Lumpur.

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).
Visiting an orchid farm at Hulu Yam Baru
Adelyn Liew posing with the beautiful flowers
Pitching tents at the campsite ... Jun is reading the manual while Siew Fun and Maan Li are doing the actual setup
Yeah! the tents are ready
Roasting chicken for dinner ... Jun and Maan Li
 Cooking instant noodle 
 Simple and yummy dinner ... roast chicken with instant noodles. (left) ChuahTK, Jun, Elfreda Ong, ChongYF, Jason Khoo, Adelyn Liew, KC Leong, Maan Li, Siew Fun, Yong Fei
 Looking for tarantula spiders at 10:00 p.m. ... misty condition
 Different species of tarantula spiders ... this is is with a skull head
Walking in the dark looking for tarantula spiders
  Different species of tarantula spiders
At the food court of Fraser's Hill at almost mid-night
 Next morning (Sunday) .. Jason Khoo skilfully frying eggs much to the anxiety of all looking at the cooking (make sure that the egg does not drop on the floor) 
 Visiting Allan's Water park
 Relaxing at Jeriau Waterfall
1-2-3 Jump !

Do CLICK HERE for all postings on camping (scroll down the pages).

Posted by KC Leong

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Heritage Trail (Day 3)

Day 3 – Penang Hill hike via Heritage trail on 5 June 2017, Monday ... The Team Lead for this trail was Ms Siew Kean, an active hiker who lives in Penang. 

One way up to the peak of Penang Hill was 2 hours. There was more scenery to see in this trail: the Penang island and the movement of trams. We were very excited when seeing the trams passing by – only possible in Penang. 

I was pleased that my plan and the schedule was executed smoothly. With the descent of the Heritage trail hike, that completed the 3-day northern hike – a great journey with great company. I truly enjoyed myself.

Thanks to the team members for the support and team work: Dphany Goh, Voon Lee, ChanHN, Chong YF, Josephine, Karen, Yi Ling, Lim Hoe Yin, Soek Yan, and Shu-Lin.

Special thanks to the three Team Leads for leading us safely to the peak: Siang Ching, Teh Wei Ee, Ms Siew Kean.

New plan is underway to hike another trail of Gunung Jerai via Merbok trail (8km distance that requires 4 hours of one way up the mountain). 

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 Heritage Trail trail head ... Tien Kong Than which is 500 meters before the lower-hill tram station. Ms Siew Kean, Team Lead for this Heritage trail, is at right.
 The Heritage trail starts here
 Happily arriving at the mid-station
 View of passing tram from station above
 Photo with the passing tram ... only possible at this hiking trail
 The Claremont Station
 Viaduct Station ... another popular station to see passing trams
 Arriving at Penang Hill Love Lock wall again
Exiting boom gate at the lower-hill tram station ... for one-way-down ride, one has to buy the ticket (using MYcard) after alighting the tram

Do CLICK HERE for Day 2 hiking (Penang Hill via Moongate trail)

Posted by KC Leong

Moongate Trail (Day 2)

Day 2 – Penang Hill hike via Moongate trail on 4 June 2017 ... The Team Lead for this trail was Teh Wei Ee, an avid hiker and trail runner who live in Penang. 

One way up to the peak of Penang Hill was 3 hours. We have dinner at the Cliff Cafe; because it was during the puasa month, most of the food stalls were closed. Not satisfied with the pizza at the food-court, we went for the Penang char koay teow for supper. The night view of Penang from the hill above was beautiful, and the view of the two Penang bridges was clearly visible.

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 Group photo at the Moongate trail head
 Many hikers at Station 5 ... (back, right) Teh Wei Ee, Team Lead for Moongate trail
 The Moongate trail emerges to join the tar road (that starts from Penang Botanical Garden)

 Cliff Cafe of Penang Hill ... due to puasa month, many of the stalls were not opened
Love Lock wall of Penang Hill 
 Night view of Penang from the hill above
Night view of the two Penang bridges

Do CLICK HERE for Day 1 (Gunung Jerai hike).

Do CLICK HERE for Day 3 (Heritage trail hike of Penang Hill).

Posted by KC Leong

Gunung Jerai Hike (Day 1)

Day 1 – Gunung Jerai hike and Regency Jerai Hill Resort ... Three consecutive days of hiking from 3 to 5 June 2017 (Sat to Mon): Gunung Jerai, Kedah; and Penang Hill via Moongate Trail and Heritage Trail.

We drove our cars and park at Regency Jerai Hill Resort; we then took van transport from the resort and transferred to the trail head which was located at Titi Hayun, Yan.

The Team Lead for this trail was Siang Chin, an experienced hiker who lives in Sungai Pertani. One way up to the peak for a distance of 6km was 3 hours, including time spent at the waterfall.

Located at the peak, the well-maintained Regency Jerai Hill Resort is a nice place for holidays and relaxation with a view of the padi fields, the sea and the vibrant sunset.

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 (back, left) Shu-Lin, Soek Yan, Yi Ling, Lim Hoe Yin, Karen, Siang Chin (Team Lead), KC Leong;
(front) Voon Lee, Dphany Goh, Josephine, ChanHN, Siang Chin's son, Chong YF
 Trail head for Gunung Jerai hike
 A waterfall along the Gunung Jerai trail
 The trails of Gunung Jerai hike end at the botanical park of Regency Jerai Hill Resort. Gunung Jerai Team Lead, Siang Chin, is at left.
 The sky glows with golden yellow
 Vibrant colour sunset
The Regency Jerai Hill Resort ... (left) Dphany, ChongYF, Shu-Lin, Voon Lee and ChanHN.

Do CLICK HERE for Day 2 hiking (Penang Hill via Moongate trail).

Posted by KC Leong

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Xi'an Free-and-easy Tour

This is the first time that I embarked on a free-and-easy travel. I followed KM Cheng – an experienced traveller who has visited 73 countries – for this Xi’an China tour from 10 to 21 May 2017. Google: KM Cheng travel blog, or click here.

Xi'an 西安 – Terracotta Army Museum, Drum & Bell Tower, Muslim Street, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda; 

Yan'an 延安 – Mao Zedong's revolutionary base, Hukou Waterfall;

Kaifeng开封 – Memorial Temple of Lord Bao, Kaifeng Fu (开封府), Millennium City Park (清明上河园);

Zhengzhou 郑州 – Yellow River Scenic Area, Emperor Yan & Emperor Huang Square;

Tianshui 天水 – Maijishan grottoes.

Do CLICK HERE for the photo album (90 photos).

 Terracotta Army Museum of Xi'an 西安

All these while, I visit overseas tourist places via packaged tours. The good thing about free-and-easy travel is that one can have more time to visit a place. The tedious part is that one has to travel by public transport such as normal trains, high-speed trains, MRT, buses or taxi. 

Entrance Fees – Almost all historical or nature sites in China require one to pay entrance fees. For sites classified as maximum 5A (AAAAA) rating, the most expensive one has to be the Terracotta Army Museum at Xi'an where the entrance fee is CNY150 (equivalent to RM95); next is Millennium City Park (清明上河园) at Kaifeng 开封 for CNY120 (RM75); follow by Hukou Waterfall for CNY100 (RM63) at Yan'an 延安. The others are around CNY60 (RM38). (exchange rate: RM 63 for CNY100)
 Terracotta Army

High-speed Train – We took the ultra-modern, high-speed train from Xi'an 西安 to Zhengzhou 郑州. Travelling at a maximum speed of 300km/hr, the high-speed train is almost three times the speed of the normal train; and the train fare is almost three times more expensive – CNY520 (RM330) for a return trip.

Public Transport – That was the first time I took public transport in China. For the few cities/towns that I have been, the network of transport system integrating trains, MRTs and buses is superb and advanced. The passengers are orderly and with good manners, so are the bus drivers who discharged their duty professionally. At Yan’an, 80% of the bus drivers were ladies. At the tourists’ attraction areas, there were special buses plying routes to take one to the tourist/scenic areas at a nominal fare of CNY1 or 2 for the entire course. 
 Mao Zedong's revolutionary base at Yan'an 延安 ... Mao Zedong's residence: the house is built into the hill for two reasons: it is cooling inside, and to avoid detection during air raid by the Japanese

Security Check – Stringent security check much like airport check-in is enforced at every entry point of MRT stations and train stations. At MRT stations, water bottles are scanned with a special machine; but at train stations, without the special machine, the officers would request one to drink a mouthful. I was informed that the process is to deter one to bring in acid/harmful liquid disguised as drinking water that would cause mass harm when boarding the public transport.
 Hukou Waterfall at Yan'an 延安

Weather – The weather at Xi'an was getting hotter from 17 May onwards; in the afternoon, it was as hot as in Kuala Lumpur (though the air was drier and not that humid). In the evening, one could walk around with a normal T-shirt (without the jacket) and pants.

Expenses – Excluding Air Asia flight ticket, my total expenses were about RM2,000 (CNY3,175) for the 11-day travel that included accommodation, food, transport, and entrance fees.
 Emperor Yan & Emperor Huang Square at Zhengzhou 郑州

3-in-1 White Coffee – this heartwarming story was told to me when I met another experienced traveller in Kuala Lumpur who frequently visits China. In free-and-easy travel, one would travel via train; in all trains in China, boiling hot water is provided free at a designated hot-water dispenser in every coach. So my friend would brew the 3-in-1 beverages and the wonderful smell of coffee aroma would excite the surrounding Chinese passengers. Some would enquire and he was most pleased to share a few sachets with them much to their delight.
 Giant Wild Goose Pagoda at Xi'an 西安
 Maijishan grottoes at Tianshui 天水 where artistic sculptures and statues cut into the side of a vertical rock face
Drum & Bell Tower at Xi'an 西安

Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Maxwell Hill Taiping Hiking

Hiking up to the gardens of Bukit Larut via waterfall trails on 6 May 2017 ... It was formerly called Maxwell Hill of Taiping. The event was organized by Kim Thai and Chan How Nean, both hometowns are from Taiping. 

One way to the hill gardens at an altitude of 1036 meters is about 4 hours, with relaxing time at the waterfall and eating breakfast at Hut #3. The hut is complete with cooking utensils, gas, tap water from the mountains and a toilet that one can take bath. The utensils are locked in different metal lockers and open by respective group owners.

While waiting for the jeep to descend the mountain, we hiked up to Cendana Hut (1128m) but the bungalow was closed on that day. Started the hike at 7:30 a.m., we boarded the jeep at 2:30 p.m. for a 7-hour outing. While negotiating the many hairpin corners by the jeep journey, we actually hiked quite a distance up the hill resorts.

Do CLICK HERE to view 195 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 Arriving at the trailhead of Bukit Larut
 At the waterfall area ... we went up to Hut #3 via the waterfall trails
 Arriving at Hut #3 for breakfast, and then continue the hiking journey via tar road
 The garden of Maxwell Hill ... (left) Kellie, Michelle Wong and TehWE 

TehWE and Michelle Wong with the high-jumping pose
 The garden of Maxwell Hill
 Taking a breather ... preparing and savoring some hot drinks; (left) Kellie, Michelle Wong and KC Leong.
 Bukit Larut cafeteria 
 At Bukit Larut garden and also the jeeps terminal
 At Cendana Hut ... (front) Kim Thai, Liang Lin, Chia Chee Fen, Michelle Wong
 At Cendana Hut
 Post hiking (the following morning)... Mangrove Swamp at Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld)
 Visiting charcoal factory at Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld)
 Seafood lunch at Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld)
Sumptuous seafood lunch of fish, prawn and crab

Do CLICK HERE to view photos of my previous Maxwell Hill outing where we put up a night at Cendana Hut.

Posted by KC Leong