Thursday, 17 November 2011

Heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier

One of the fantastic experience in New Zealand is Heli-hiking up on the glacier. Franz Josef glacier is located on the West Coast of South Island in New Zealand. It is situated within the rainforest climate of New Zealand, which means it gets quite a lot of rain over the years. But these rain actually help make the glaciers.

The glaciers itself is beautiful and much more expansive and huge than any photos can show. It is constantly moving, which is why you can hear cracks, falling ice and even small waterfalls from the melted ice.

A Heli-hike involves taking a helicopter up the the top of the glacier and then a guide brings you to climb around the glaciers, exploring the nooks and crannies of formed ice caves.

Even though sitting in a helicopter and looking down, it the glacier still looks small until you see another helicopter flying around, then you'll get an idea of how massive it really is.

I'm not sure if you're allowed on the glaciers on your own, but having a guide is really the only safe (and sane) choice. With experience, they know which areas are safe to step on without having any ice fall on you, or falling into the crevice of melted ice. Trust me, its worth it.

A guide will also explain the different landscapes around the glaciers and show you things you'd never expect. Like a small stream of melted ice.

Or the best thing on the glaciers, going through an ice cave! The pressure from the formation of the glacier produces this nice blue tinge (which turns white after exposure to the sun). So, finding a blue ice cave that you can slide through is amazing!

If you ever go that way, I'd definitely recommend a hike over the glacier (either Franz Josef or Fox Glacier, both should be equally good, but also depends on your luck with the weather!). The helicopter ride is a bonus, where you get to experience the massiveness of the glaciers and take in the entire glacier.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Pretty cool forest

Some forests in New Zealand are pine forests. These pine trees are not native to the country, but was brought in by early European settlers to replant the area so it would 'look better'. Some of these pines grew so well that it became pests and a danger to the native plants and wildlife.

Anyway, regardless, it is still pretty cool to walk through a pine forests, especially when the lower areas are covered with some kind of fluffy algae (or moss) and made the atmosphere look somewhat greenish.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Peace Pole in New Zealand

Remember sometime back when I posted about "Peace Poles"? Well, this time I've unexpectedly come across yet another Peace Pole.

This Peace Pole is situated in front of the YHA in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. It is definitely an amazing place for a Peace Pole, very scenic with the mountain range in the background and definitely a very peaceful place to be!

Where else will I find my next Peace Pole?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Mountains in the morning

I am loving Kaikoura, New Zealand so far. Imagine waking up in the morning and finding this view outside your room each day!

Sunday, 18 September 2011


There's so much wildlife in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Walking around the coast, you'll bump into a colony of fur seals. And they smell too.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Finally the weather is nice enough on Kaikoura, New Zealand to go on a whale watching tour. The sea was still rough, but it was so worth it to see these majestic giant creatures (even if you only see the top of their head, and tail)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Rotorua is a town in New Zealand's north Island that is famous for its thermal grounds. There are lots of hot springs here and lots of places with thermal activities. A walk around the park, and you can see lots of steam (stinky though), some boiling water, lots of gas escaping and sometimes even what looks like boiling mud. There is a small place where the temperature is right for soaking tired legs.

For more information, visit their website:

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Lady Knox Geyser

There is a geyser called Lady Knox that goes off at about 10.15am daily near to Rotorua, New Zealand.

This attraction is part of the "thermal wonderland" of Wai-O-Tapu. It normally costs NZD 32 for the admission. However, since the geyser is outside the rest of the park, you can watch it for FREE if you know where to find it (just ask around, its about 2km away).
This geyser would normally erupt once every few days, but a staff from the park help set it off by adding some detergent into it (eco-friendly detergent, apparently).

It doesn't erupt immediately after adding detergent. It still took about 10 minutes before water shoots out and mixes with the cold air to have lots of steam surrounding it. But it was pretty cool anyway. The other place you can see geysers is in the US.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Super Loo in New Zealand

Travelling across New Zealand you'll take in all the scenery. Beautiful mountains, lakes, forests, hills and animals. And then it confuses you when they throw this into the middle of the town!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Beitou, Taiwan Hotsprings

Beitou, Taiwan is just north of Taipei, about 1 hour in the MRT from downtown (TWD 35, or just RM3.50). This area is known for its hot springs. Even the air stinks of sulphur sometimes.

You can opt to go visit the outdoor hot springs, which is normally full of local people, or you could enjoy one of the many spas at the area.

Most hotels here also provide hot spring water directly into your bathtub!

So, if you're too lazy to climb up the hill to an outdoor hot spring, or don't want to face the crowds there, you can still relax and enjoy the springs right in your own hotel room.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Cutting Creativity

One must have a lot of talent to create a masterpiece so quickly with just a pair of scissors. This woman cuts silhouettes of her customers on the spot in Taipei, Taiwan.

The final piece!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Taiwan's Night Market

Taiwan is famous for its night market. Here's a picture of Ximending right in the centre of the city!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Night Market

Here's a photo taken at the pasar malam (night market) in Kinrara, Puchong.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Bangkok by Night

Here's some photos of Bangkok by night. Taken from Lebua Hotel. That river is the Chao Phraya river.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Just Migrated

I just migrated to a Mac and I'm having a hard time finding for the right software to use to update my blogs. I previously used Microsoft Live Writer, which was fantastic, but of course they wont make it run on a Mac. Took it for granted how easy it was to write a post or publish a photo. Argghh!

Looks like I have to blog online now (which I hate, cos it all goes wonky and layout just doesn't work properly). Or else I might think of another migration... to another server. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Remembering those who fell in Kanchanaburi

A recent trip to Kanchanaburi was for a workshop, but we had time off one evening to go to the museum, the cemetery and the popular bridge (i.e. bridge over the River Kwai – also a movie).
During World War II, the Japanese invaded South East Asia and brought many POWs to Kanchanaburi to build a railroad that joins Thailand to Myanmar.
The museum had a lot of information on the building of this bridge and train line. Also a lot of focus on the sufferings of British, Australian and Dutch POWs (and a few Canadians and New Zealanders). In a smaller corner of this museum, they had the statistics of the actual number of POWs – guess what, most of those are from Malaysia! There was about 180,000 Asian POWs (most from Malaysia!) and more than half of those died in Kanchanaburi (as compared to 60,000 POWs from western countries, and about 15% died).
Anyway, this is still a very moving place to be.
grave cemetery bridge bridge monument for the Chinese
At last, a small monument to remember at least the Chinese that fell on this place. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Beauty in Nature

I went to Taman Negara some time ago. Besides looking for animals or doing the canopy walk, there are many more things around us that are naturally beautiful. One only has to open up your eyes and learn to see it.
Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

2010 in review

2010 has been a tough year with lots of incidents and challenges, but hey, it will only make me stronger. Lets see what I’ve done so far last year…

1. Working and living in a foreign country for the third year

Can’t believe it has already been 3 years. Time zipped by so fast, yet still feels surreal living in Bangkok. Heck, my Thai is still as basic as the next tourist.

However, a lot of work has been piling up and I’ve finally felt the real meaning of ‘burnt out’ (those close to me can tell the difference). I need a long break and time to reflect on my work-life balance. And the changes within the organisation in the last year does not help, as change is unsettling and we still cant see the end of the tunnel.

2. Travelled to 10 countries (if you count Taiwan and China as separate)

As you’ve probably noticed (if you’re one of the few returning readers) that I’ve left the list of my travels on the right hand side of my blog. These are the places I’ve travelled to in 2010, including 2 new countries - Laos and Taiwan (er, Taiwan counted?).

Here’s the summary:
  1. Singapore
  2. Colombo, Sri Lanka
  3. Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, Thailand (holiday)
  4. Kathmandu, Nepal
  5. Luang Prabang and Vientiane, Laos (holiday)
  6. Tai Chung and Taipei, Taiwan
  7. Shihezi in Xinjiang, China (beautiful)
  8. London, UK
  9. Manila and Cebu, Philippines
  10. Bali, Indonesia
Conclusion: Xinjiang is normally off the tourist trail, but its a really beautiful place. Would like to take the time and holiday here sometime (would be good for photography too). Taiwan is also a nice place to go to, it is cheaper than I thought but at the same time very civilised.

I need to take more holidays.

3. Delivered my Dad’s eulogy

Yes, it is not something someone looks forward to, but I’m glad I have gathered my strength to deliver this. He is my hero and I needed to tell everyone what a great person he was (not that it needs mentioning to those that have met him before).

It was such a sudden and unexpected thing and accepting it is the hardest part. And I don’t know how long it would take me to trust any doctors in government hospitals (namely, Serdang Hospital) again.

Better to die a hero than live like a vegetable. (gloomy, I know). I miss you, Dad.

The other thing that this incident did was that I’m now responsible for my family and our home. While filling out forms, the section of “head of household” has taken me aback and woke me up. Someone has to step up to the plate now.

It also makes you realise how important family is. Luckily extended family is not far away. Thank you, famiLee :)

4. Blogged and photographed?

Well, due to hectic workload, being burnt out from work and the incident (above), blogging has taken a back seat. I realised that I’ve blogged less than half compared to previous 2 years.

My photography has also drastically slowed down in 2010, even though I still love it in my heart and occasionally read up about it in magazines and books. I need more motivation and find myself wondering where it went.

Lets see if these will pick up again in 2011.

5. Own property and a business

Yeap, I’m a home owner and a business partner. I’ve always wanted to go into these, but you can also say that the incident with my Dad has made me push myself more. So far so good, lets see where this year will take me with these.

Overall summary: lots of ups and downs (mostly downs) in 2010. Its been a tough tough year, and here’s hoping 2011 is better.

Happy new year!