Kuala Lumpur 2016

Kuala Lumpur, more affectionately known as “KL”, is an urban potpourri of old and new, with a sprinkle of colonial landmarks and towers of glass and steel.

Below are some pictures taken from in and around KL during my walk-around with a dear friend.

A combination of Lightroom CC and Nik Collections were used for post-process of the images presented here.

Suria KLCC

I wanted to capture the beauty of the twin towers in the background against the expanse of the gardens in the surrounding vicinity. For that I had my Tokina 11-16 and the results were outstanding.


Lake Symphony at Suria KLCC

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/40s
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: 1250

Suria KLCC Garden Entrance

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/50s
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • ISO: 1000

Old Kuala Lumpur Station

This station used to serve as the central railway hub for Kuala Lumpur. The old station may be well past it’s prime, but it certainly retains some of it’s charm and character.


Platforms (facing Central Market)

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/125s
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • ISO: 100

Station Platform Area

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/60s
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • ISO: 100

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is home to one of the largest Hindu temples outside India and plays host to the Thaipusam festival in Malaysia. An interesting place that warrants another visit, and I highly recommend making a trip there. You’ll have to first trek up a whopping total of 272 stair steps to reach the main cavern! Slightly daunting, but it is well worth the effort.


Main Entrance of Batu Caves

  • Lens Used: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
  • Shutter: 1/250s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • ISO: 200

Batu Caves Main Cavern

  • Lens Used: Tokina 11-16
  • Shutter: 1/30s
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • ISO: 640

Devotees at Batu Caves

  • Lens Used: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
  • Shutter: 1/50s
  • Aperture: f/2.2
  • ISO: 320

Old Government Complexes

Probably the creepiest entry in this list – and possibly the most interesting. It doesn’t look like these buildings will be in use anytime soon, but it does appear like conservation works are in progress. Hopefully, the buildings will be restored to their former glory.


Old Stairs

  • Lens Used: Nikkor 18-105
  • Shutter: 1/40s
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • ISO: 200


Singapore CBD Nightscapes

There is nothing better than walking around a windy-breezy Singapore at night, with my camera in hand. Below are some nightscapes that I took. The poor dynamic range at night means that I had to turn to exposure stacking – just a fancy way of refering to ‘HDR’.

Photos are strictly for your viewing pleasure. If you wish to reuse them, please contact me first.

Singapore River Cruise and CBD
Number of Exposures: 3
Shorted Exposure: 5 seconds
Longest Exposure: 20 seconds
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 100

Singapore CBD
Number of Exposures: 4
Shorted Exposure: 4 seconds
Longest Exposure: 25 seconds
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 100

Art Science Museum
Number of Exposures: 4
Shorted Exposure: 2.5 seconds
Longest Exposure: 15 seconds
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 100

Louis Vuitton
Number of Exposures: 1 (Not an HDR)
Exposure: 3 seconds
Aperture: f/4.5
ISO: 100


A Greasy Affair

Chinese New Year is just on the horizon, and with a little more than a week to go, families are scrambling to the markets to stock up on all the goodies. I was with my photo-buddy Steven Chua at the Kenyalang Park commercial center and the place was bustling with activity. I was just turning around a corner when I saw these huge piles of preserved meat, comprising of salted duck, Chinese sausages and some weird flat-shaped patties.

Here’s another angle, closer-up.

They sure look tasty, but I also couldn’t help wondering how much sodium nitrate they have in them. The stuff must be loaded with other preservatives as well. In all fairness, I think most of what we eat today are loaded with junk anyway.


All Hail, the King of Fruits

For some reason, I suspect this will be a controversial post. Here’s why:

For the uninitiated, this is a durian, the king of fruits. At least as far as I am concerned. This fruit is revered in this part of the world where I live. Singaporeans love it. Malaysians love it. Bruneians love it. Indonesians love it. Thais love it. The Chinese love it (just ask Stanley Ho). Everyone else seems to hate it. Poor fruit.

So why is something so much loved, revered, to a point of being worshiped, drawing so much flak from westerners?

Well, for one thing, it is certainly because of two things. The first of which, the durian’s smell is extremely pungent. But to us Asians, perhaps pungent is not a good way to describe it. We would probably call it fragrant. Bring a durian or two into a small room and soon that oh-so-tantalizing whiff will start to fill the air, and of course, you will be at the center of everyone’s attention.

And for the second point, depending on where you come from, some have noted that the smell of the durian is similar to that of rotten cheese. So ‘bad’ is the smell that passengers aboard Singapore’s MRT trains are forbidden from bringing these ‘vile thorny things’ along with them, owing to the fact that Singapore has a large expatriate population, which is perfectly understandable.


If you notice from the above, in this fine city of Singapore (pun definitely intended), no fine is mentioned for bringing durians aboard the train. Maybe they will just confiscate your durians.

Food for Thought

It is hard for the average Sarawakian to get by a week without indulging in our favorite local noodle dish. Here it is.

Locally, this dish is known as ‘kolo mee’, which is means ‘dried noodles’ in Chinese. The dish is very much hybridized to suit the local taste but its origin can be traced to Guangdong province in southern China, which is where my grandfather came from.

AirAsia App

It goes without saying that if you are not paying serious to the mobile market, you are asking to be left in the dust trail, especially with the volatile nature of the mobile market landscape.

AirAsia recently released a more polished version if their app and I must say that it is absolutely gorgeous. Compared to its stinky predecessor, the new app, which was released first for iOS, sports a predominantly white theme, which is better on the eyes. Unfortunately I do not currently have any screenshots of the older version of this app for comparison, but I believe many of you have used it before.

The iOS version works very well on my phone but there have been some word on the ground about this app performing sluggishly on Android devices. If you have experienced issues with this app, do share your experience with us by writing in the comments section below.

Four Days in Sabah


It’s been exactly a month since my trip to Sabah with James and Liew, and I believe that this post is long overdue. Since I do not wish to write everything in chronological order, I will just post some pictures below and tell you a little story behind each of them. For the time being, consider this post a work in progress.

The picture you see above is that of Mount. Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia. This photo was taken at a small market near Bundu Tuhan. The view of the mountain from that point is magnificent.


As we continued with our journey towards Kundasang town, we passed by the Kinabalu National Park, which is where you really should be going if you intend to climb the mountain. We went straight to the Desa Dairy Farm, which is reputedly the largest dairy farm on the island of Borneo.

Here is a photo of the farm with the majestic Mount Kinabalu standing proudly in the background. Sorry, I didn’t snap that many pictures of the cows.


It was a very windy day at the dairy farm. Wait. I think it’s always windy there. Even the pine trees had this strange curve to the trunk, I suspect is caused by the continuous force exerted by the winds throughout the growth of the tree. The winds were chilly but it had a nice scent to it.

On the second day, we spent most of our time exploring Kota Kinabalu (abbreviated as ‘KK’), Sabah’s capital city.


The Cold Northerly Winds – The Last Frontier of the Cold War

My visit to Korea was full of surprises (sprained knee included). I have included photos of my trip there in the gallery section of my blog, so you can have a look there. To cut a long short, I will first write about my visit to the de-militarized zone (DMZ). (By the way, the pictures you see here are not in chronological order. You can check out more photos under my photo gallery. You can access it via the navigation bar above.)

Panmunjom, the village near the DMZ, is located some 56 kilometers from Seoul.

The Cold War had always intrigued me. In fact, knowing full well of the potential danger that lies ahead of me, curiosity got the better of me, and after much thinking, I decided that it was somehow worth the risk, to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to see the last frontier of the cold war.

Unifying a divided country. It takes two hands to clap

Just how risky you may ask? It depends. Firstly, the two Koreas are still at war, technically. Secondly, you may be asked to sign an indemnity form, to indemnify the United Nations Armistice Committee and the US Army against anything tragic that might happen (touch wood) to you, if you decide to visit Panmunjom and the United Nations Joint Security Area (JSA).

Mount Dora Station. The last station in South Korea, connecting to North Korea.

A visit to the DMZ is not complete without a tour guide, as a guide can be quite informative. What about going alone? Nope, getting about on your own is just not possible, due to the inherent danger that lurks ahead. Mines are scattered all over the place in the millions. Barbed wire fences, machine gun turrets. Anti-tank explosives. Well, you get the idea.

Prayers for a peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.

Sounds serious enough to deter you from ever visiting the place? It shouldn’t. A visit to the DMZ is basically divided into two parts, depending on the tour you are following. The first part is the ‘normal’ tour, which takes you to several places of interest near the DMZ (more on that later). The second part, is the one you should prepare for in advance. The second part involves a visit right into the heart of the DMZ. Yes, right into the no-man’s-land, the 4 kilometer wide buffer zone that separates the two Koreas. People were killed there before, so do behave yourself! The tour bus will stop at one of the checkpoints and an American GI will do a security check on everyone in the bus before you are allowed to disembark the bus and head for Camp Bonifas. The place is, at least from first impressions, quite tourist friendly, and you can’t be faulted for thinking that the place is a tad bit too touristy to be a war zone, but the JSA authorities have done much to make you feel right at home over there. Nonetheless, the element of danger still lurks, and the threat of an invasion from the north is very real. You have been warned.

The JSA Visitor Center, Camp Bonifas.

If you do intend to actually get into the JSA, it is paramount that you prepare your passport. Be informed that citizens from Malaysia and Singapore, among other countries, will need to submit scan-outs of their passports at least one week in advance to the Panmunjom Tour Office at the Lotte Hotel near the Korea Tourism Organization office. The background check is necessary as this is a high-risk zone and I suppose you can’t have someone with malicious intent going there to start an second Korean War. Jokes aside.

The Joint Security Area.

 The JSA area (as seen above) is the real deal. That white building you see up ahead from where the blue conference buildings stand is the Panmungak, the North Korean JSA office. You you observe carefully, there is this pesky North Korean officer scrutinizing us through his binoculars. Makes us look like museum exhibits or wild animals in cages. Sheesh…

Photography in the JSA is limited to certain areas as they can’t afford to have photos of the site leak to the North Koreans which can prove to be strategically advantageous to them.

I could go on writing  but I think I’ll stop here. I’ll leave the rest for you to discover on your own.

Want to go to Pyongyang?

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Trip to Bako National Park

Having been jungle trekking in the past and scaling some of the not-so-tall hills and mountains of Sarawak, I had been thirsting for a similar adventure so I asked myself, “Why not go to Bako?”


We had been planning this trip for a long time, way too long, and before we knew it, all the hostels and lodging were all snapped up for the weekend, so we went for a day trip instead.

For those who don’t know much about Bako National Park, the national park is the oldest in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak and is located some 29 to 30 kilometers from Kuching (see picture below), the capital of Sarawak. My pals gathered at my place on early Saturday morning at around 6.30am before meeting up at Thompson Corner for a hearty breakfast of kolo mee to keep our energy levels high for the trip ahead. I had been gaining some weight for some time (extra 15 kilos the last time I checked, may be higher now) so this is the perfect moment to get in shape.


Bako National Park is one of the nearest national parks to Kuching, and getting there by car or bus should be a no-brainer. The second phase of the journey however requires visitors to travel by boat.


It is possible to charter a motorboat at the national park terminal at Kampung Bako and it costs RM 47.00 per boat per way, for 5 persons.

The boat trip was quite scenic as we were greeted by views of the kampungs and fishing boats of the fishing village along the way for the first 5 minutes of the boat journey, followed by several stretches of mangrove swamps.


The boat trip was a lot shorter than I had initially thought. As we were nearing the park’s jetty, we spotted some of Bako’s top attractions; walls of sandstone and limestone, crafted by wind and water over thousands of years.


This is of course, not without getting a spectacular view of Mount Santubong, which is said to resemble the profile of Rajah Brooke lying down. The photo below was taken from Teluk Assam, near the jetty. Legend has it that there was once a princess named Santubong, who was cursed and turned into a mountain.


It is not difficult to get around the park as most areas are accessible via trails which are properly maintained. The elevated plank walk shown below allows visitors to have a good view of the mangrove swamps.


*To be continued in Part 2

Now Everyone Can Eat, and Ride?

“Now Everyone Can Fly!” (Yeehaa!)

How right they are. It used to cost so much more to fly around the country, and even more to fly out of Malaysia.

Then came Air Asia, and the rest became history.

The coming of Air Asia solved the problem of air-travel, which for many Malaysians like me, was rather expensive at times.

Then came another company, that for obvious reasons, gave me an impression that it wants to help prepare us Malaysians for some kind of impending famine or something.


With the wordings ‘Food Asia’ so prominently emblazoned on the red awnings shown above, it’s hard not to imagine that we might soon witness the rise of Malaysia’s (and the world’s?) first ‘low-cost’ food eatery, right? Hmmm, let’s find out…


A quick look at their website (www.FoodAsia.net, duh!) reveals an assortment of mouth-watering delights, from our local Sarawakian Apam Balik to the not-so-local Philippines Mee Hoon. I think they’re quite right about the pricing though; you can get just about any dish for RM 4.00 and below, and dessert for RM 3.00 or less. Finally, a place to get some decent food without burning a hole in your wallet. “Now Everyone Can Eat!”

And if that wasn’t enough, wait till you see this…


“Now Everyone Can Ride!”