Mt. Bromo and Ijen Crater – Indonesia

 

Bali is probably the most well known destination in Indonesia but this country has other out-of-this-world places which are worth visiting, Mt. Bromo and Ijen Crater being among them.

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Mount Bromo or Gunung Bromo is an active Volcano (it last exploded in November 2015), stands at 2,329 metres and is located in East Java, Indonesia.

It’s difficult to tour this place without a tour guide as only specific jeeps with license are allowed on the mountain and you are better off with a tour guide as you have to drive on mountains in the night. Our guide picked us up at Surabaya Airport at around 10pm to drive us to Mt. Bromo which is 4 hours away. We freshened up at our hotel and left for Penanjakan Peak for the sunrise  which is a few minutes drive up the mountain. The place can get crowded but you can climb the wire railing and watch the sunrise from there. It’s probably the most stunning sunrise we’ve ever seen. The rest of our itinerary was to visit Savanah, Teletubbies Hill and Bromo Crater, all of which are equally stunning.

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The next day we left for Ijen crater which is a 5-6 hours drive. Around 2.00 am that night we trekked the steep mountain for around 2 hours to reach Kawah Ijen. You can see blue flames at night but since there was a lot of fog when we were there, we couldn’t see anything. But the place was still very beautiful. You have to wear gas masks to protect from the sulphur fumes. We saw many sulphur miners working there under dangerous conditions without masks.

Needless of the early mornings, the steep climbs, we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. We also got to taste the most expensive coffee in the world. What more could you ask for?

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We would recommend this place in a heartbeat. Some of the pictures below.


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Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia

Taman Negara National Park encompasses a sprawling tropical rainforest that’s said to be 130 million years old and covers 4343 sq km. It’s also said to be the oldest rainforest in the world. Kuala Tahan, the entry point is about 3-4 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur depending on the route you take. You can also drive to Kuala Tembeling  and take a 3 hour boat ride from there to Kuala Tahan.

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We were in Taman Negara Park for 3 days and it was a very different experience compared to the other holidays we have taken. We stayed in Mutiara Resort which is just across the river and also the place where you can enter to see the famous canopy walkway, the longest of its kind in the world. You can also go for different treks, visit the Orang-Asli village, have lunch while watching the flowing river among other things.

It’s definitely a place worth visiting.

Little Guilin – Singapore

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Living in Singapore, there often comes a time when you want to go somewhere to escape the chaos of the city. While browsing on the internet I stumbled upon pictures of a place called Little Guilin. The western part of Singapore, I find, is much more greener than the East. If the weather is good, it almost feels like you are living on a hill station.

We left home at 11 in the morning. We alighted at Bukit Gombak mrt. Little Guilin is a very short walk from the mrt. As we walked on the winding road with a stadium on the left, we were almost wondering how could a place like that exist between the high rise condos and modern infrastructure. But as you walk closer and spot the towering rock structure from a distance, you know you are in for a treat. We spotted the lake after a few minutes. As we entered the park, it was almost like entering a small paradise. There were 2 boys fishing, a bunch of kids watching the fish struggling as it was pulled out of water and an old man sitting on a rock and watching his grandchildren play. Its like being transported in time when things were simpler.

We sat on a rock nearby and simply watched the ripples on the lake from the light rain. If you avoid looking at the 2 buildings jutting out from behind, it almost feels like you’re not in Singapore.

Note: Little Guilin is modelled after Guilin in China.

Haji Ali mosque – Mumbai

Sometimes it’s nice to be a tourist in your own city. Technically it’s my husbands city but I’ve been there enough times to think site-seeing there would be ridiculous. But during these past few visits, we have been trying to go to various places, some already been to but forgotten. Haji Ali Dargah is one such place.

Haji Ali Dargah or Mosque is an early 19th century mosque situated on the Arabian Sea. It’s one of the most recognisable landmarks of Mumbai. People of all faiths pray there. In-spite of being crowded there is a certain serenity to the place, and being surrounded by the ocean gives it a different charm.

We planned to reach around 6pm so that we could see it in daylight and also enjoy the sunset on the ocean. I’ll leave you with pictures since it’s difficult to describe in words.

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Color Run Singapore

Color Run – Singapore

Last year Color Run, we couldn’t get the tickets as they sold out pretty fast but this year we made it a point to get the tickets as soon as they were available.  We had fun, it was a good experience.

Color Run Singapore

Color Run Singapore

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If wishes were horses…

Bintan beach
Life has been busy with daily work routine, exercise attempts, upcoming long weekend travel plans, small daily roadblocks and interrupting sicknesses. Amidst all this what gives me a much required sense of calm is this picture of the beach from Bintan (Indonesia) last year and transporting back to this place if only for a few secs.

We are off to Mumbai for the long weekend. Although it takes 5 hours by flight, the 3 days we’ll be spending there should be awesome. Talking of planes, the recent tragedies have left us heart broken and worried. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends.

Take care people!

Wangfujing shopping street

Fancy Scorpions on a stick? Go to the Night market in Beijing!!

Wangfujing shopping streetAfter the flag lowering ceremony at The Tienanmen Square, we walked down for a few minutes on a cool, crisp night and entered Wangfujing shopping street.

If you are the adventurous type where food is concerned, this place could be heaven for you. But we don’t really eat much in meat other than chicken and Pork. Sometimes we eat duck but definitely not when we can see the eyes and the beak.

Wangfujing shopping streetYou can find dumplings, scorpions on a stick, heaps of octopuses, baby ducks, snakes and other delicacies. But don’t worry, you can also find things to eat here – satay, Duck Pancakes, kababs among other things.

Wangfujing shopping streetThe atmosphere is lively, there are a lot of tourists around and generally good time can be had just by walking around and trying to recognize things on sticks. We would highly recommend this place even if it’s a place where probably only the tourists visit.

Siem Reap city

Siem Reap: The city of Ankor Wat

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Siem Reap is home to some of most beautiful archeological sites, Ankor Wat being one of them. There is a lot you can do in and around the city. There’s Ankor Wat of course, The night market, Silk factory, Stone Carving workshop, fish spa, shopping among other things.

Siem Reap airportSiem Reap city When we drove into the city from the airport, there seemed to be a mild sand storm or just a lot of wind I guess. The city is not very developed compared to other South East Asian major cities. We stayed in Ankor Paradise which was a great place to stay with some balconies that open on the main road. We bought the hotel voucher through Group-on and it worked well since the location was great. It was just a few minutes walk to the main market.

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The night market is a place where all the tourists and backpackers spend some time drinking and eating. Like any other South East Asian market, it has a lot of bars and massage places. A rather nice and lively place to relax. There is also a huge market for fake goods like LV, Prada and the likes. Also present is a section for pirated books.

Siem Reap citySiem Reap city Years of Khmer rouge atrocities have definitely left a mark. You see headless statues and destroyed work in the temples here. You see people on wheelchairs, a result of the landmines,trying to make a living by selling paintings. Tourism helps.

Zhujiajiao ancient town Shanghai

Venice in Shanghai – Zhujiajiao ancient town :Shanghai

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Well it is known as the Venice of Shanghai. Zhujiajiao is an ancient town located in the Qingpu District of Shanghai. We had no idea how or where to buy tickets from because we didn’t want to go through a tour or an agent. We googled the ticket center address and we knew we could get a bus from there. Now this sounds easier said than done. Because if you can’t speak Chinese, good luck with making the cab driver understand what you’re saying. So we did the smart thing, got the hotel receptionist to write down the ticket counter place in Chinese and we also took a map. It still took us 3 rounds around the same junction to find the place.  Again we rushed to find the counter because it was nearing closing time. We found the counter at the basement and with hand gestures and map and our Chinese translation, managed to get two tickets to the place. Thankfully everything but the date and timing was written in Chinese. The ticket counter guy was sweet enough to point us to a English pamphlet of the place.

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The next day we reached 5 mins before the bus left and found it already boarded and waiting for late comers like us. All the people in the bus were Chinese and they were nice enough to point out our seats when we took the wrong seats the first 2 times.  We reached the place in about a couple of hours or maybe even less.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

There are rows and rows of weeping willow trees that great you on the way to the entrance. Since it was our first time seeing these trees, we were kind of  distracted. Zhujiajiao is what it says it is.  An ancient village on water. We had fun strolling around the cobbled streets looking at different varieties of food and souvenirs, dress shops and other entertaining things.There are a lot of alley ways and small shops along the way. The small streets open up to a huge junction.

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There are a few cozy and pretty cafes scattered along the way and there’s Starbucks. I wonder how Starbucks found it’s way here, but it was a relief to get a reliable chai latte to lift our tired spirits.

Beware of the temple in the village. We went in and couldn’t say no when the 2 Chinese temple guys separated us and took us to two opposite tables. The one who guided me saw my hand, pretended to read the lines, then wrote something down on a paper, put it in an envelope and gave it to me. Then he showed me a register to sign and obviously pay, which I was not going to go. I hate scams like this. I refused saying I had no money. He asked me to return my fortune back to him. Of course. I was only glad to return him the scrap of paper.

Zhujiajiao Ancient TownI bought soft wool socks made for my darling niece from this sweet lady. We also got our paper cut outs made. We watched a 5d movie (yes!) and I had my picture taken in a Chinese dress. I simply cannot resist things like that.

Zhujiajiao Ancient TownAs the sun started setting, it scattered a warm glow over the place which made it look even more beautiful. We might have enjoyed it even more if it wasn’t super hot.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

Marina Bay Sands

Night Photography: Singapore

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Marina Bay Sands

Faces in the dark – with just 4 people

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Ghosts!!!

I’m not a photographer by any means nor am I aspiring to be one. But I do love capturing memories and if they end up looking good I have no problem with that as well.

We had a short 2 month photography module when I was studying design and one of the practical classes was night photography. Mainly we learnt how to use exposure and different types of fun pictures you can click with long exposure.

Although the class was DSLR centric, these pictures are not taken by a DSLR since we don’t own one. We have a Canon G11 and it does a fairly descent job with exposures.

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Light effects

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Symmetry

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Two in one

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Bridge

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The famous Merlion

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There’s a boat on the river