Archive for ‘Malaysia’

March 18, 2011

This happens not only in India

This was the scene at the Petronas Towers queue where we were waiting for getting the tickets to go up the Twin Towers.

May 25, 2009

Mt. Kinabalu Trek Travelogue

Well its been quite a while that I am back at work and has been busy these days with loads of work and hence couldn’t do this earlier. The experience I had in KK I am still on a high. It was an unforgettable experience. As I have already given the details about my drive experience and the preparations for the trip, I shall directly go to my trek in this post.

Arrived Mesilau at around 8.50AM and then I started the trek. The guide for the climb was 40 year old man by name Dalios, a very friendly guy and could speak a little English. He was an informative guy and have already reached the summit more than 800 times. Yes you have seen it right, more than 800 times. We asked him as how much time it would take for us to reach Laban Rata. He said we can reach by 4PM if we are fast enough. Our group as everybody were youngsters we thought we may reach by that time or earlier. Dalios said that the slowest person would dictate the pace. He also said that he would remain with this group until we come back to head quarters.

The trail was just a single path all the way till the top with all the sign boards hear and there with no hope of getting lost. As we started off, I forged ahead at my own pace ahead of all my friends. Once we reached the 500m mark in just 20 minutes we were all delighted and took some pictures with the sign board. From here on for every 500 mts we could see the change in the expressions on the faces of the group.

Just before we reached 1KM mark we came across a very beautiful scenic place where we could see the donkeys ears peak through the clouds far away. We all thought it would be the KK summit and were afraid to see it so far and asked Dalios if that was the summit. To our surprise he said we cannot see the summit from there and its far away from there. Now we knew what was in store for the rest of the day for us. Hence from there on deliberately we were all holding back and taking it easy one step at a time and not getting tired by doing some heroics. At about 1KM Nagaraj and Mahesh gave their bags to Dalios to carry as they were not able to do it by carrying the bag. I took some luggage from Santosh to make it lighter for him.

The stretch from 3KM mark to 3.5KM mark was the toughest in the whole trail till Laban Rata. Everybody was so tired that we took more than 10 minutes break at this point of time. Similarly at every 500 mts from here we started taking small breaks. The whole trail was not just climbing a single mountain, but it was climbing up a mountain twice and descending down twice and the climb the third one. Hence because of this we were exhausted a lot through the journey.

We had about 4 km left to cover and we reached Layang Layang which was the intersection point for the Timpohan and Mesilau trails. From here on we all were feeling the effects of the altitude slightly and this was slowing up in my group. From here on it was like resting around every 100 metres or so. All the way I took charge and tried motivating the group to move faster and take less breaks. 2KM was left and I could push everybody till then and from here on Mahesh slowed down and was stopping for every 50 steps he was taking. I asked other to go ahead and tried motivating Mahesh all the way up to Laban Rata. The path was treacherous in some places so we had to be very careful with our footing.

During our way up we heard somebody running down. When looked up we were shocked to see one of the guys from the Park running down the mountain. Now you might think anybody can do it, but then this guy was carrying an empty gas cylinder strapped to his back. We just couldn’t believe our eyes. Here are struggling every 50 metres with a small back pack and there was a guy with a gas cylinder on his back and running full tilt down the same track. I tried showing those guys and some fit old people climbing with ease to Mahesh and tried motivating him. But it was of no use as Mahesh took his own sweet time to go up to Laban Rata. We reached Laban Rata at around 18.30 hrs, the rest of my group arrived at 18.15 hrs.

Mahesh was literally shivering because of the temperature on top and also because of the cold breeze. We took a wise decision to take extra jackets and hence rented 5 jackets. We had our dinner there. Nobody was in a mood to actually eat anything but then we need something to start oru early morning trek that night. Dalios to came to us and asked if we are going to come for the supper at 2AM. I and Surya were the fit guys then and hence we volunteered to come down again from the lodge which was 200 mts ahead from this place and get the food.

We tried for a warm room at the reception for Mahesh as he was not at all in a position to again come into the cold night. As there were no rooms available we had to move on and reach the lodge 200mts away. We were not sure how the rooms were. We just knew that they are not warm rooms and were scared of the temperature there. We reached the lodge and saw that it was just a small room with 4 bunker beds. We 5 people adjusted in that 4 bunker room itself. We slept after having pain relief tablets, headache tablets and some pain relief cream and spray.

Alarm woke me at around 01.15 hrs from a very deep sleep. If it was any normal day then I would have definitely turned the alarm off and went back to sleep. I bet quite a few people did just that. But I was determined and had got this far and in another 3 hours or so I would be at Low’s Peak. So I forced myself out of bed and woke up Surya and we both left for getting supper for other 3. We went down had some hot coffee before and after our supper which included bread and egg. We packed the same for Nagaraj, Mahesh and Santosh. We went back to room and woke them up to have their supper. There was a stage when Santosh said he will not be able to make it and he would sleep there. But we all motivated him and finally made them get ready and started off at around 2.30AM.

Everybody virtually started the climb together in the pitch darkness. It was a wonderful sight to see all the torches and head torches ahead and behind us snaking their way up the mountain. From here on I have seen something common with all the groups going up. Everybody have started off slow and were going very slowly with very less stops. Our group were able to make it to the first stop at a single stretch which was 500mts away. At this point we stopped and saw everybody climbing the rock marked out by a rope. I was excited to see that as we have to do some rope rappelling all the way for more than 1KM. We started off and as Surya, Santosh and Nagaraj climbed, Mahesh got a little scared and did not want to climb up catching that rope. I had to shout at him a lot and convince him. He then started off after me keeping a hand behind him all the way just to make sure that I am with him.

We climbed for certain distance and reached the check point where we were asked to show our registration card and the number. The guy sitting there noted and asked us to show once we descend down. All this morning trek I was feeling very energetic and did not got any issues with the altitude. Nagaraj was literally down with headache because of the altitude change. I had to take charge and had to literally push him along the way for some distance. Just after I was able to see the summit, my back started aching and I was hardly able to walk up.

As it started to get lighter as day broke I was beginning to see the mountain and surrounding areas in all their magnificent glory. On arriving at the edge of Lows Peak there was many people at the summit. I waited until Nagraj and Santosh also reached that point. Then we took some pics with the beautiful sunrise behind the mountains. From there it was around 200mts to reach the summit. This was yet another tough trail in the whole journey. Mahesh, Nagaraj and Santosh did not dare to come up while me and Surya wanted to reach the summit and hence started going up. We reached at the top and took some pics and video at the top.

Then it was the long decent back down to Laban Rata. Coming down in the daylight gave us a view of what we had climbed in the dark. It was quite scary. At this point Mahesh was yet again tired and Nagaraj was suffering from severe headache and I was suffering from severe back pain, we were slow in coming down the trek. On the way down we decided to take a short nap of 15 minutes and then leave for the descend. We reached the room and slept for a 20 minutes and then started off with all the luggage and checked out of the rooms.

We took some breakfast and also took some pics with the surroundings. As there was water available at all the rest houses we just took 2 small bottles along with us. Yet again I had to carry the heaviest bag after Dalios as he was carrying Nagaraj and Mahesh’s bag.

On the way down we saw something different to what we saw during the ascend. We saw all the people on their way up and we offered some encouragement. There were questions being asked and answered. The only way I have been motivating people was by telling them just 30 mins more or 1 hour more and its easy just go on. Seeing the local men and women climbing this mountain with three or four rucksacks, seeing them climb with all the provisions for the Laban Rat was just amazing, the fitness levels of these guys is truly amazing. But what absolutely took my breath away was seeing these guys carrying up the full cylinders upto laban rata. I just couldn’t believe it.

On the way down Santosh cramped his leg very very badly but did not stop anywhere. We were astonished to see his determination to finish the trek and not to make the things slower. We made very poor time going up when compared to coming down according to our guide. We reached the bottom at around 18.30. Land Cruiser came to pick us up from the Timpohan Gate ot the head quarters. At the head quarter we picked up our certificates and gave our guide his very well earned tip.

Everybody was tired and we planned in such a way that we should drive directly for dinner and then go for a good massage so that we can reduce all the pains. Surya yet again drove the car all the way to KK town. We had dinner at Anjappar and then went for a nice Thai massage for 2 hours which proved to have a great effect on all of us.
All in all this was an experience of a life time and something that will remain in my memory for the rest of my life. What more can I say. It is not easy but the end product arriving at Lows Peak makes all the effort worthwhile. All in all, two memorable days.

May 7, 2009

Drive to Kinabalu Park

The drive to Kinabalu park has been adventurous and memorable. Adventurous because we did not know the route and were exploring by ourselves and memorable because we were going on a long drive in a car all driven by ourselves.

The night before we started to Kinabalu park, we took directions from Marc regarding the route. We bought a route map of the KK city but that map did not have the route to Kinabalu park. After clearly hearing to the directions from Marc, I decided to be the navigator while Surya will be the driver.

We started off early by 5.30 from the hostel. We were told that it is about 2 hour drive from KK. The day before we filled up 10 liters of gas in the vehicle. Frankly speaking we did not really check the condition before we rented the car. We were actually going on an alien road and not sure if there would be any bumps. We were lucky to see a good sealed road for most of the way through.

Wonderful Road

Surya was our driver all the way


We drive for 36KM from KK to Tamparuli Roundabout which was very clear as it was a straight road. From Tamparuli Roundabout we took a right turn and drove straight until we reached outskirts of Tamparulli. From there we had to drive another 52 km mountainous route to arrive to Kinabalu Park. This route has been an up-hill driving all the way until we reached Kinabalu National Park. It was a long stretch of winding and neat road with some little bumps here and there to National park. All we need to do is to just stick with the main road and we will soon reach our destination.

We reached the Kinabalu park headquarters by 7.30. Upon arrival, we registered ourself and got a briefing by mountain guide info about trails.

Head Quarters, We stopped for the registration

We paid for the
Mt. Climbing Permit,
Mt. Climbing Insurance
Mt. Guide
Certificate of Achievement
Main entrance fee to Kinabalu Park

Balsam Cafe where we had our breakfast

At the reception

We were given food coupons:
1 pack lunch (Balsam Cafe) Day 1
1 dinner (Laban Rata restaurant) Day 1
1 breakfast (Laban Rata restaurant) Day 2
1 lunch (Balsam Cafe) Day 2

Breakfast

We had our breakfast at the Balsam Cafe for 45 Ringitt each. We took our packed lunch and started off in the taxi to the mesilau trail after parking our car at the head quarters. On the way to Mesilau, we came across the Kundasang village which was very nice and also had a small market place. We were excited to see the view of the mountains on the way to Mesilau. Everybody felt good about the decision of parking our car at the head quarters as it would have never made it to the Mesilau trail. It was too steep and even Land Cruiser was having trouble going up in 2nd or 3rd gear.

View on the way to Mesilau trail

In the cab, on the way to Mesilau


At around 8.45 we reached Mesilau and started off by 8.50.

All Set to go
Starting point of the trek

Finally I would say that the drive to Kinabalu park was exciting and exhilarating with the wonderful views and the cool breeze.

May 6, 2009

Kota Kinabalu Cheat Sheet

This was done by Surya before we started for KK.

Team PaPPu:
Mahesh 82233522
Santosh 91891638
Sudheendra 82233505
Nagaraj 81382383
Suryam 97250998

In the event you get into trouble:
Indian Embassy
The High Commission of India
No. 2 Jalan Taman Duta, Off Jalan Duta,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : (00-603) 2093 3510 (Five lines)
Fax: (00-603) 2093 3507, 2092 5826

Hostel in Kota kinabalu:
Borneo BeacHouse
House No.122, Lorong Ikan Lais,
Jalan Mat Salleh, 88100
Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel: +6088 218331

Weather Forecast


Mount Kinabalu Facts:

Summit (known as Low’s Peak) at 4,095 metres.
Essentially a huge granite dome that was pushed up from the earth’s crust, it is still pushing up at the rate of 5 mm per annum. The climb starts at 1,563 m. Climb starts at the Timpohon gate at 1800 m, either by minibus or by walking, and then walk to the Laban Rata hut at 3300 m. Most people accomplish this part of the climb in 3 to 6 hours. The last 2 km (2600 ft), from the Laban Rata hut at 3300 m to Low’s Peak (summit) at 4100 m, takes between 2 and 4 hours. The last part of the climb is on naked granite rock. A typical descent from the summit is quicker but it is often equally painful as the ascent as the climbers descend more than 3000 m in five hours. The total trail to the summit is 8.5 km.

Dos and Don’ts on the mountain
Do not pee (unless you are about to explode)
Do not call out names (spirits may haunt you)
Do not have unprotected sex

Must-have at all times
Passport
Condoms
Lighter
Clean underwear

Local language phrases
You are cute – anda comel
What is your name – apa nama kau
Will you have sex – bolehkah anda mengadakan seks
How much – Berapakah harganya
What time (is it) – Pukul berapa?
Thank you – terima kasih
Help me – tolong saya
Good bye – selamat tinggal

Sightseeing

The Gaya Street Fair is held every Sunday morning and is the place where locals come to buy their goods. You can find almost anything at the Fair. From local handicrafts, souvenirs and clothing to food, drinks, Chinese medicines, delicacies and even animals like chickens and pet dogs, can be purchased for very reasonable prices. It also is a good opportunity to try out your bargaining skills.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Islands Park – Only 10 to 20 minutes by boat from Kota Kinabalu city, you can enjoy the beautiful tropical islands and indulged in lots of R&R. The Park consists of 5 islands, namely Gaya, Mamutik, Manukan, Sapi and Sulug. The park offers ample space to try water sports and you can also enjoy and adventurous jungle trek.

Shopping
There are 5 major shopping complexes in KK: Centrepoint, Wisma Merdeka, Wawasan Plaza, Karamunsing Complex and KK Plaza. Major shopping malls are located along the main artery of Kota Kinabalu, and you find just about anything from branded goods to local handicraft.

Filipino market: Situated a bit further than the above places, Filipino Market is a huge souvenirs and local handicrafts centre in Kota Kinabalu. It has more than 100 sellers that is placed under one roof. The building is made of wood and situated very near to Kota Kinabalu wet and fish market

Signal Hill Observatory

Offering a bird’s view of the city; the Sabah Foundation Building – a unique 30-storey building (it is a circular structure supported by high tensile steel rods, an architectural and engineering marvel, and there are only four such buildings in the world; it is Sabah’s highest tower)

Pouring hot springs

The Poring Hot Springs ranger station is 40 kilometers from Kinabalu Park HQ. Within 1 1/4 hectre (3 acre) area there are 5 hot springs with temperature ranging from 49º to 60º C (120º to 140º F) Soaking in a hot water bath is an ideal way to recurperate from an ardous mountain climb. Other attractions across the river are a small butterfly enclosure, a forest trail system, a Canopy walkway and picnic area. The chalets and hostels can accommodate 90 persons per night.

Itinerary
Day 0 – get your ass on to Tiger airways TR 484 departing @ 2020hrs
Day 1 – Diving starting morning till afternoon. Chillout in the evening by the beach or go into the city
Day 2 – Gates close by … Reach Laban rata by 6pm
Day 3 – Start climbing at 2am and reach peak by sunrise. After sunrise, start climb down and reach base by 1pm. Depending on the condition of the climbers, chill out in hot-springs or hit the city.
Day 4 – Flight TR 483 leaves @ 1155hrs

Time Zone
Malaysia is in the same time zone as Singapore (GMT +8)

Getting around
Mostly by taxis – a lot of haggling is due. But short trips cost 10 RM and slightly longer ones are 20 RM.

Night life / Hangout

Waterfront – Opposite the Promenade Hotel is a short stretch of the KK waterfront that becomes a hub of activity from dusk onwards. It is a popular meeting place for youngsters to hang out with their friends and where office workers converge for a beer after work. For tourists, it is the place to relax while watching the sun going down and eyeing the pretty ladies that may stroll by.
Some of the joints that are noted – BED, beach club, Cock n Bull, sugar bun

The Office pub – Tucked away in the Api Api Centre on the Marina Court side of the promenade, Pub grub will line your stomach, including famous sandwich wedges, fries and other what-have-yous. Populated by locals, Aussies, Brits, Americans and the odd South African, The Office Pub is watering hole of note.

Cocoon – Around the corner from Upperstar and Shani’s is Cocoon. A funky place with modern decor, good looking and efficient waiter staff, with a live band always at the ready, peppered by the DJ’s mix.

May 4, 2009

Borneo Beachouse

In Kota Kinabalu we stayed at a wonderful backpackers place called the Borneo Beachouse. The location of this backpackers area is awesome as its just 5 minutes walk from the airport. There is this beach called the first beach which is 3 minutes walk from this place. This beach has a nice sunset and hence we can see lot of localites flocking there during the evening time.

First Beach

Entrance of First Beach

Borneo Beachouse

Mark and Dave who manage the place were very very friendly and helpful. They helped us with the gear and also helped us in giving the directions to the Kinabalu park.

Thats Marc with the Team Pappu, Dave was sleeping as he takes care at the night.

The whole house was filled with the souvenirs given by different tourists from different countries. The overall presentation was great. I would definitely stay when here again when ever I go back again. These were some of the boards which I saw in their beachouse.




This was at the reception of Borneo Beachouse. Very Innovative 🙂
April 30, 2009

Mount Kinabalu Trek Preparation

I have been doing hiking many a times since childhood. This all started off with Lateef Saab and Kaapral hill in Nalgonda. During Engineering days we went for Lohaghad and Matheran hill hiking. I have also been to Kedarnath which I would call it as a trek as it was challenging. Finally I am going for a proper trek to Mount Kinabalu. We have been planning it since the start of this year. Because of my marriage we have postponed the whole trip to May. Today is the day when we fly to Kota Kinabalu from Singapore. I, Nagaraj, Surya, Mahesh and Santosh are in the group.

The whole bookings have been done by Santosh. We have booked tiger airways to Kota Kinabalu, booked a lodge in Laban Rata, booked hostel in Kota Kinabalu and also booked for the Scuba Dive. The whole idea behind this trip was given by Surya. We also tried ordering some customized T-Shirts. But as we cannot get just 5 different shirts we did it on our own. Below are the pictures we printed on our t-shirts.

Thats for me – Lazy Crazy 🙂

This pic is for Mahesh and the caption is “Stay Fit – Ramababu”
This pic is for Surya and the caption is “Psycho – Suri”

This pic is for Nagaraj and the caption is “Rasik – Builder”
This pic is for Santosh and the caption is “Citi Sucks – Banker”

The check list was prepared by Mahesh and its as below:
– Trekking Shoes
– Extra pair of socks
– Full pants
– Full sleeve shirts
– Sweater
– Raincoats
– Plastic Covers
– Tissues
– Extra batteries
– Digital Camera and Video Camera
– Lip Guard
– Head Lamp or torch
– Towels

Hope we will have a great trip and I shall soon share the pics once I am back from the trip.

March 18, 2009

Mount Kinabalu Trip

September 2, 2008

My Trip to Melacca

Recently I have been to Melacca. Its a historical place in Malaysia. People come here to explore the place and know the culture of Malaysia. The whole town is preserved to depict the French and the portugese rule on Malaysia. You can see the 200 year old culture there. The buildings are old. The roads are narrow. The people here live almost only on tourism.

Most of the old buildings and churches are restored here. The color combination of the paint for the buildings is so vibrant. The whole town is very colorful. The day when we were there it was so hot that I didnt really enjoy the trip. Though people were excited to go there I was not at all in a mood of enjoyment. I was waiting for the time to run fast and I get into the bus back to Singapore.

We started at 8AM in Singapore and reached Melacca in the afternoon by 12. None of us had any idea on the places to go. So we thought we will just try some travels to actually take care of this. We booked a mini bus and started off for the tour. The AC in the mini bus was also not working. So the overall experience became worse now.

The driver was speaking continuously and took us to some of the heritage places and temples and some honey selling shop. The city was so small that we moved around and almost reached the same spot everytime. We took many a pics of the place and surroundings. The driver also showed us the River Esplanade. We took some pics there. We got on to a ship model which was exhibited there.

Overall this trip was not at all exciting nor was so interesting for me or for Srinivas or for Mahesh. I shall update the pics very soon. If you really want to see and enjoy the trip in Melacca then I would suggest you to go in Winter and take a bike ride along the city. That would actually give a complete idea of what the place is all about.

August 26, 2008

Gambling at Genting

We never had a plan to go for Genting Highlands. I heard a lot about the place but did not really plan for it in this KL trip. As we were able to cover Petronas, KL Tower, Batu Caves, Times Square Berjaya, China Town and the Night life in just one day, we thought of checking out Genting on the second day. Genting is basically a hill top entertainment weekend getaway for the Malays and there is not much for tourists really.

Genting Highlands Resort

View of the Resort from the Flying Coaster Area

Even though it was in the morning 4 that we came back to hotel we were ready by 9AM to go for Genting. We wore 4 KL Tshirts for the trip which would look alike. We had our breakfast at the lodge before heading down to Genting. We took a taxi to the lower station for the rope car which is located near Gohtong Jaya. I was looking forward for Genting Highlands was just for the ropeway. It is currently the world’s fastest and South East Asia’s longest cable car system.

For safety reasons, it undergoes periodic maintenance checks. And we were the most unlucky people as the maintanence started the day we went there. Hence it was closed. During the maintenance period, they use Awana Skyway, which is a bit less exciting than the Genting Skyway. But after seeing the queue there and the time limit that we had we thought of avoiding it. We took a taxi straigh to the Genting resort.

Flying Coaster



Train Experience to see the whole resort

We reached there and took an entry for the outdoor amusement park. There were three different types of entry tickets. One for the indoor, one for the outdoor and one for both. We were excited about the roller coaster and the flying coaster rides. We took some of these exciting rides and then headed for the casino. This is the first time ever that I was going to a casino. Actually speaking it was first time for all 4 of us on the trip. Even though we lost 100 Ringgits which we thought is the limit for first timers, it was a wonderful experience.

Me at the Casino Entrance

People stay in the Genting resort hotel over night to enjoy all this fun. They have bowling games, Indoor theme park, nice buffet for lunch and dinner and a theater. But of all these I would say Genting has three primary attractions which are Casino (Casino de Genting), Theme Parks (Indoor and Outdoor) and the Rope ways (Genting Skyway and Awana Skyway).

Aquarium inside Casino

Fishes at the outdoor theme park
On way back

Things to be taken care are:

It rains there most of the time – take umbrellas, raincoats etc.
You need not stay overnight – best plan to go early morning and come back to KL in evening
Vegetarians – Do carry something
Ropeway – take a call looking at the weather – do not judge weather in Genting with that of KL

August 26, 2008

Night Life at KL

aIn KL we booked a hotel by name Pondok Lodge through the Hostel World. I have read some reviews and just booked it. When we reached there in the morning at 8AM we saw that the street was empty and deserted. We went out for the full day tour of the city and came back to hotel at 8PM. When we reached there we couldnt recognise the hotel. The road which seemed so calm in the morning was looking wild with music and people all around. Now we understood that we were staying in one of most happening streets in KL.

We got ready and started to check out the night life there. First pub we visited was just below our lodge. The crowd and the music there was awesome. As the place was really small we couldnt really stay there for long time. We went forward asking people about the beach pub. Following the directions we reached the beach pub. There was huge crowd dancing around. There was some live band playing really nice songs from different genres. We further went down and reached Aloha pub. The music here was simply superb and I would say one of the best I have seen till date.

The roads at 2AM in the morning were full with cars, taxis, bikes and people. You would never feel that you are on the road at 2 in the morning. While coming back we also saw that McDonalds and KFC were still open and were serving. But avoided both of them and sat at a local food court road side. The time travelled so fast from 9 to 4 that we did not realise that it was already 4 in the morning by the time we reached back to hotel. Finally I would say After Phuket, Night life at KL rocks.