Wednesday, 27 June 2007

One night in Chiang Mai

Contrary to what some may tell you, nightlife in Chiangmai is not boring. Firstly, there’s the pasar malam, which our guide Mr Happy Pramet urges to "attack" every night.

You can buy lights there.

There are mini pachyderms roaming the streets. How cool is that?

Then, once shopping and playing with elephants is out of the way, there is the pro-muay thai, where you can watch young boys pretend to kick each other.

Like its western cousin, pro-wrestling, the referee in pro-muay thai doesn't really do much.

In Chiang Mai, much fun may be had with small blocks of wood.
(although anything would seem fun after a few bottles of Singha).

There are friendly ladies from Udon Thani.

Later, you can visit strange gambling dens where the usual plastic chips are substituted with cotton buds.

Then to top off a really great night, there is guy sandwich action for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

All that in one night, believe it or not! Phew! Thanks for the good times, Chiang Mai!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Kuala Selangor trip

As we stepped out of the gate and into the open air, a sense of calmness and tranquility seeped in. the night was cooling, and the scenery of what we just saw was breathaking. as we stroll along the river in the boat and take in the sights of the twinkling and glittering firelies, the journey could not have ended in a more spectacular way. half an hour with raw nature is just what we all need to get away from the city. what a great way to spend our weekend..

the weekend started that saturday with the ere gang gathering in front of the kuala selangor nature park. it was 4.30 pm and the sun rays are shining brightly that day.. there was sathya, dr. bala, murali and vishnu.. (dressed in FBI tshirt and army pants :) ), dylan came together with donovan, zaime was standing at the entrance welcoming the rest of the late comers... and of course boone, shan min, K and me came together at quarter past four. we were all getting excited to kick off the trekking into the nature park.. ohhh lee, jason and mel (yen's friend) was somewhere in the information centre checking out the centre. yen and ben also came and join in with the rest of the gang later. our tour guide came and ushered us into the first meeting point. laila, the tour guide was a petite and sweet girl started with handing out some binoculars and giving some background on the nature park. kuala selangor nature park is mostly secondary forest, with 3 layers of mangroves spreading until the coastline. there are 2 species of primates which are the long tailed maccaque and the silver leaf monkey.

about 20 mins into the trek, we came upon a watch tower.. we were able to soak up the magnificent view and spotted some wildlife inhabiting the nature park. it was the perfect weather for nature lovers to just spend time at the watch tower overlooking the mangroves and the forest. we could see some egrets at the edge of the wetlands scouring for food, some mudskipper hopping along and at a far distance we could see the light house situated at the top of bukit malawati fortress. somewhere at the background u can hear lee clicking away with his camera equipments trying to capture all the panoramic shots.

we finished trekking about one and a half hour later.. with our lungs filled with fresh air and our stomachs making growling sounds indicating that food was in order. before we head off for dinner, there was a "surprise" waiting for us as we exit the kuala selangor nature park. the president had managed to arrange for a big & colorful train to take us up to bukit malawati. the train looked like one of those taken out from children's storybook land. the joyride trip up to bukit malawati was definately one of the highlights of the trip. the train was making rounds and spins with all of its passengers launghing and screaming. since it was nearly sunset, we were welcome with amber and orange skies at the top of the hill, along with some silver leaf monkeys sitting on top of the canons, proclaiming it their home. the whole family of monkeys started to swarm us as dr. bala handed out peanuts to them. of course a group photo at the scenic bukit malawati was captured.

by the time we reached the restaurant for dinner (and got lost somewhere behind the houses following the team leader), our seafood dinner was already waiting. we just jump straight in at our dinner and wallop everything till the bones. even murali made a remarked " wahhh.. table next door are eating like mad people" hahhahaha. to round up the dinner, there was a nice kuala selangor style ice cream cake presented to the birthday boy.... jason. he will officially turned 28 on tuesday, the 22nd! we hoped he liked the ice cream cake coz it sure took a lot of effort to keep it in the restaurant's refrigerator and then realizing that the ice cream had melted by the time it came to our table!

We head off for our much anticipated fireflies journey at about a half past eight. the night was moonless and it was starting to drizzle a little. the air was cooling and we were all in happy mood to see the famous fireflies colony at the berembang tree in kuala selangor. i could feel the anticipation building up as this was the whole purpose of the trip in the beginnning.. but the day couldn't have ended any better.. trekking at kuala selangor nature park, watching wildlife from the watch tower, catching the sunset at bukit malawati fortress, having fresh+scrumptious seafood dinner with my collegues and friends ... and finally spending some quite time looking at the fireflies along the river. it was a really fun and memorable trip to end with.

there was no camera allowed, hence no photos were taken during the actual boat ride for the fireflies, but i'll put in some of the great snapshots that we had during this kuala selangor trip. enjoy!!

pic above: the writer and k, at bukit malawati fortress with the sun ticking away to sunset. it was a great trip.