Sunday, December 30, 2018

Apek Hill Year-end Hiking

Year-end hiking at Apek Hill on Saturday, 29 Dec 2018 via extended trails ... it was a good day for outdoor activity with the overcast sky. Due to the big group, by the time we returned to Station 6 hilltop, it was already 12 noon, with extended time spent relaxing at Saga hilltop. Out of the 30 hikers, half of the group members have signed up for the Mont Blanc Circuit Trekking in 2019.

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

 A mega group photo before the start of hiking ... with the camera pointing in the direction of the morning sun, that completed all the direction possible for taking group photo at this location
 All ladies' pose at Station 1
 At the signature big tree along Ah Meng Trail
After almost half hour of relaxing and making hot drinks at Saga hilltop, here is the final group photo before we descended the hills.

Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Trail Run at KDCF

Christmas Trail Run at KDCF (Kota Damansara Community Forest) on Sunday, 23 Dec 2018 ... we ran from Seksyen 9 of Taman Rimba Riang to the lakeside of Seksyen 10. At mid-way, we went up to Unity Peak; many hikers were there enjoying the scenery. 

Together with a group of outdoor friends, the outing was fun and enjoyable. We then adjourned to Jeff Lee Restaurant in Sungai Buloh and have a sumptuous and delicious lunch comprised of eight dishes (not including dessert) for only RM26.

Present: KC, ChongYF, Tan, Kellie, Celine, Sylvia, Shu-Lin, Stephanie, Alicia, YapEng2 and Apple.

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

 At Taman Rimba Riang, Seksyen 9 of Kota Damansara
 At Seksyen 9 trailhead
 At Denai Tiga Puteri peak
 Yes! Unity!
 Arriving at the lakeside of Seksyen 10 of Kota Damansara
Sumptuous lunch at Jeff Lee Restaurant, Sungai Buloh

Posted by KC Leong

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A visit to Northern India

Free and easy travel to northern India in December 2018 with my travel buddy ... Weather was cooling in the morning and evening; light jacket is required. Overall, it was dry and pleasant to walk around.

Do click here to view photos for the highlights of the travel, courtesy of yours truly, KC Leong.
Taj Mahal, Agra – the tomb for the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, and his favourite wife. I saw one advertisement long time ago ... Via-Agra (viagra): Man's greatest erection for love. This ivory structure is one of the seven wonders of the world.

There are many signage showing "Incredible India". We were amused by the slogan. A lot of things are possible in India; for example, all the cities are very dusty; the roads are lined with "landmines" ... a lot of cow dungs; the Indians honk wildly at every moment when driving; most of the time, the deafening sound of horn is from the motorbikes. At a junction, they would jam themselves up with the traffic with everyone or every vehicle going in all direction – they would then manoeuvre and clear the jam amicably.

The Indians are very patient and tolerant. One evening, while travelling in an auto-rickshaw (three-wheelers taxi or tuk-tuk), the tuk-tuk stopped in front of a crowd blocking the way. I saw the driver was smiling and talking to the crowd and they responded apologetically. I asked: “were they your friends?” He said, "big brothers, please let me pass" ... and they did. 
Agra Fort, Agra – the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty

On food – it is very easy to get diarrhea, even when eating their curry. The popular food "nasi biryani" is nice but very spicy and hot; one could also get diarrhea with the biryani rice. Eating out in restaurants was a problem. Walking around the areas where we stayed in most of the places, we could not find food for breakfast. At sight-seeing locations, we could not find restaurants for food either. So we only eat biscuits or apple for lunch. Most of the days, we eat only one proper meal. During long-distance train ride, though there were food vendors (who hopped on and off the train), we were not too adventurous to eat with unknown source. There was one long-distance train ride where I ate biscuits for lunch and dinner.

Drinking water – it is safer to drink from bottled water; 2 litres cost 30 Rupees (about RM1.80). Avoid drinking water pour from a jug into the glass in a restaurant: that could be tap water (this was told to me by Dr Kogulan, a hiker friend).
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, New Delhi – one of the finest monuments in India

Inter-town Transport – the most efficient mode is still the train services from Indian Railway. However, online booking by foreigners (say, from Kuala Lumpur) is a pain. The moment we input our local mobile telephone number, the registration transaction is terminated. Train ride from Lucknow to Amritsar – train delayed by 15 hours: we sat in the same restaurant, same seats for lunch, then dinner, then supper, then breakfast waiting for the train to arrive; while the entire lobby of the railway station was full of people sleeping on the floor.

Upon returning to Kuala Lumpur, I lost 5kg of weight; acquired a bad cough that I speculate that could be caused by the dusty environment during travelling.
Lotus Temple, New Delhi – Notable for its flower-like shape, the Lotus Temple is a prominent attraction in the city; open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification.
Red Fort, New Delhi –  the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years
India Gate, New Delhi – a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died during the First World War
Akshardham Temple, New Delhi –  a Hindu temple and a spiritual-cultural campus displaying millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture.
Ambedkar Memorial Park, Lucknow – the park honors the lives and memories of all those who've devoted their life for humanity, equality and social justice. 
Golden Temple, Amritsar – built around a man-made pool, it is the holiest and the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism
Vulture Peak, Bodhgaya – A small mountain just outside the ancient city of Rajgir is Buddha’s favorite retreat. It is so named because it resembles a sitting vulture with its wings folded. 
Ghats by the Ganges River, Varanasi – riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges. Most of the ghats are bathing and puja ceremony ghats; the two burning ghats are used exclusively as cremation sites where the majority of dead bodies are cremated in Varanasi. 

Posted by KC Leong

Monday, November 12, 2018

Northern Thailand Hiking and Sunrise

9D8N Northern Thailand Sunrise, Hiking & Photography Tour from 1 to 9 November 2018 with Mr Lam as the Tour Leader. He can be contacted at +6012-231 1837

Do CLICK HERE to view 80 photos courtesy of yours truly, KC Leong
 Mae Ya Waterfall in Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park viewing of sunrise 
 Rice Terrace homestay
 Rice Terrace homestay
 Doi Pha Tang 
 At Phu Chi Fa hill viewing of sunrise
 At Phu Chi Fa hill viewing of sunrise
 At Phu Chi Fa hill viewing of sunrise
 Sunrise at Gin’s Maekhong View Resort & Spa (at Chiang Sean)
 Mon Sone Viewpoint of Royal Agricultural Station, Angkhang
Mist and tea plantation in Royal Agricultural Station, Angkhang

Do CLICK HERE to view photos of my previous 7D6N Northern Thailand Sunrise and Hiking Tour from 28 Oct to 3 Nov 2017

Posted by KC Leong

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

ABC Journey_Part 3

Descending the mountains from ABC back to Kathmandu ... overnight at:
(a) Dovan ... that we saw the glow of Fishtail peak during sunset
(b) Jhinu Danda (after Chhomrong, we took another trek to return to trail head, different from Poon Hill trek)
(c) Pokhara ... token of appreciation to support crew; visit the Pokhara lake
(d) Art Hotel, Kathmandu; farewell dinner and receiving certificates of completing ABC.

This is the final album for the ABC trek.

Do CLICK HERE for photos courtesy of yours truly, KC Leong.
 Descending the mountains from Annapurna Base Camp

As I understand from the mountain guide, there are three types of packages when trekking in Annapurna Base Camp trek:

(a) Bed only (breakfast, lunch and dinner are paid as one eats);
(b) Bed and breakfast (lunch and dinner are paid as one eats);
(c) Full board (includes all meals, hot water drink and bath). 

All the above packages include mountain guide and porters services. Choice (a) and (b) would be the cheapest in term of package fees, but one has to calculate and pay every time when ordering food and hot water drink, which is inconvenience especially at high altitude that may affect the mental activity and thinking.
 Glow of Fishtail peak during the sunset at Dovan

On behalf of the team members, I would like to thank the following persons for providing the excellent services:
(a) trekking agent, Mr Cheban Devkota of Manaslu Adventure Treks (Pvt.) Ltd; 
(b) mountain guide, Mr Ram; 
(c) assistant guide, Mr Sunil; and
(d) the team of strong and handsome porters.

To contact Mr Cheban, just Google the company name above.
 The lodge in Dovan is equipped with TV (that can received BBC broadcasting), electric heater, and a refrigerator (not in the photo); electricity is generated by a mini hydro-power turbines nearby
 The longest suspension bridge of ABC trek near to Jhinu Danda
 Yeah, this is where the trekking ends
 Farewell dinner and celebration 
Presenting certificate of completing ABC by Mr Cheban

Do CLICK HERE for Part 2.

Do CLICK HERE for the highlights or summary of ABC journey.

Posted by KC Leong.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Annapurna Base Camp Journey_Part 2

The journey continued from Poon Hill to Annapurna Base Camp ... overnight at:
(a) Chhomrong
(b) Bamboo
(c) Deurali (that we experienced rain and hail bounced on the zinc roof)
(d) Annapurna Base Camp (having lunch in a lodge at Machhapuchhre Base Camp) 

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

Shopping along the trek
Having fun with the special swing in front of a primary school  
 Rain and hail at Deurali 
 Arriving at ABC 
 Group photo at ABC by mountain guide, Mr Ram
Enjoying the scenic landscape
Descending ABC

Do CLICK HERE for Part 1.

Do CLICK HERE for Part 3.

Posted by KC Leong

Annapurna Base Camp Journey_Part 1

This album contains photos from Kathmandu to Poon Hill: 
(a) arrive in Kathmandu, shopping and welcoming dinner; 
(b) fly to Pokhara; 
(c) bus transfer to Nayapul, trek to Tikhedhunga; 
(d) trek to Ghorepani, and hike to Poon Hill.

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

Ten days of trekking at Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) from 14 to 26 October 2018 with trekking service provided by trekking agent, Mr Cheban Devkota of Manaslu Adventure Treks (Pvt.) Ltd.
 Shopping at Thamel, Kathmandu

Lodges and Facilities – Most of the lodges are either new or renovated. In accordance with the changing time, most of the lodges provide service to charge handphones at a nominal fee of about 200 Nepalese Rupee (about RM 7). As to the WIFI service, the data line-speed at many of the lodges was slow. The toilet walls are plastered with tiles that give a pleasant looking; they do have the squatting and sitting type.
 Welcoming dinner by trekking agent, Mr Cheban (far right)

Hot-water Bath – Most of the lodges use solar-powered heating elements to heat up the tank of water, and charged 200 Nepalese Rupee per hot-water bath. A few of the team members complained that the water was not hot at all for a comfortable bath at the end of a trekking day.
 Boarding the plane to Pokhara

Meals – There is a good system of standardizing the menu, consistently applicable to almost all the lodges. That would make ordering easier. Since we were not eating meat when trekking, ordering of food was mostly confined to noodle, rice, fried-rice, momo, vegetable, potato, pizza, vegetable curry or soup. The Korean instant noodle, which was very popular among the lodges, was really hot and spicy.
 ABC trek check-point at Nayapul, the starting point of ABC trekking

Lighting – all lodges use energy-saving light bulbs that lighted up the entire lodge and rooms. A few of the team members were puzzled asking me why there was headlamp in my checklist. Ten years ago when I went trekking in Nepal, we need headlamps to move around at night.
 First overnight in lodge at Tikhedhunga
Overnight at Ghorepani and hike to Poon Hill at 5:00 a.m. the following morning
 At Poon Hill
Sunrise at Poon Hill at 6:10 a.m.

Do CLICK HERE to view the highlights of ABC.

Do CLICK HERE for Part 2 of the journey.

Posted by KC Leong