Batu Caves, my first cave visit

Besides the good food and shopping, Batu Caves is another must visit attraction when visiting Kuala Lumpur (13 kilometres north of the city).

The Batu Caves is the most widely known Hindu Temple in Malaysia (almost like a local icon), dedicated to Lord Murugan and at every Thaipusam (which falls in late January/early February), it will be crowded with Hindu devotees carrying Kavadi and milkpots to express their devotion.

The Batu Cave Temple is also known as 10th Caves or Hill for Lord Murugan as there are six important holy shrines in India and four more in Malaysia. The three others in Malaysia are Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Tanneermalai Temple in Penang and Sannasimalai Temple in Malacca.

you will see this upon exiting from the train station
Lord Hanuman: Welcome to Batu Caves!

The Batu Caves temple complex consists of three main caves ..

  • Temple Cave (Free to enter)
  • Dark Cave (Fee charge for Tour)
  • Art Gallery Cave (Fee charge for Entrance)

One of the most iconic feature of Batu Caves has to be the 42.7-metre high statue of Lord Murugan (tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world).  The statue, which cost approximately 24 million rupees, is made of 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint brought in from Thailand.

The Iconic Lord Murugan Statue

This area is a limestone hill comprising three major caves and a number of smaller ones. The limestone formations found in the caves are said to be around 400 million years old, the temple is considered an important religious landmark by Hindus.

Feed the birds for a wonderful photo taking opportunity

There are many stalls there selling religious artifacts, food for feeding birds, drinks, indian vegetarian restaurants. So don’t worry if you’ll get thirsty or hungry there.

Majestic view of the entrance and the hill behind
272 steps to heaven

Be prepare to burn your leggy fats, pay extra caution as the steps are rather steep.

They can be rather friendly…
Devotees attending a worship session at the cave temple

You are welcome to observe the worship session, just kindly remove your footwear before entering the temple sanctuary. Note: do not disturb the sanctity by taking photos with  your flashlight on.

All i can say is.. you need to put effort if you want to achieve something. The view here is worth every step i took.

Lots of monkeys and pigeons around..

Check out the wonderful view before leaving…

As you climb up the 272 steps towards the Temple Cave, you will find a path branches off to the Dark Cave.  Follow the path and in no time you will feel the cool breeze coming out of the cave entrance.

There are registration tables where visitors can sign up for the tour.  You will also find a mini-exhibition of the bats you can find the Dark Cave.  You will most likely be able to only hear the bats flying around in the cave due to the darkness so this is the best time to see what those bats would look like upclose.

The Dark Cave is where visitors can explore the enthralling cave ecosystem with a guided educational tour.  The Dark cave is at least 100 million years old and the limestone that surrounds it was originally formed from shells and coral, from when this entire area was underwater.

The cave is also home to millions of both fruit- and insect-eating bats where their droppings (also known as guano) supports an ecosystem within the cave, with cockroaches, spiders, crickets, snakes and other creepy crawlies living off either the guano, the bats themselves or each other.

There will be a guide explaining the formations

For RM 35 (Adult), you can sign up for the Dark Cave Educational Tour – Just come in your comfortable shoes and clothing and keep yourself hydrated as the tour is about 45 minutes long and the cave can get quite hot at times (with temperature of 27º -29º Celsius and 85-90% humidity year round). Torchlight and helmet will be provided.   Do note that the Dark Cave tour is not available on Mondays; the tour is available from Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm and on Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays 10.30am to 5.30pm.

Coming By Train. KTM Komuter train takes you to the caves on the Batu Caves – Port Klang line. An adult single fare is RM2.00 from KL Sentral to Batu Caves. The journey from KL Sentral to Batu Caves takes about 30 minutes and trains run on a frequency of 15 to 30 minutes.

Discovering Melaka

Melaka is 3 hrs drive from Singapore! 
Getting to Melaka from JB is simple, just head over to Larkin Bus Terminal and get your tickets. If you are traveling from JB to another state and are looking for a cheap hotel to stay for the night, there are a few Budget Hotels across Larkin Bus Terminal. And nearby are 711 convenience store, 24hrs mcd(at bus terminal) and mamak stalls that open till wee hours.

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Here at Larkin Terminal, there are many options to other states, Singapore and even Thailand. Upon reaching the terminal, alot of touts will swamp to you like flies and you’d even hear them before you see them. It is always good to compare before buying, explore all options but take note, tickets do run out very quickly on weekends & holidays.

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One of the many halal eateries in Larkin terminal, McDonald can be found around the corner.

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You may shop and burn your time here at the shopping arcade, there are shops selling all kinds of merchandise. Purchase some light snacks and drinks or top-up your traveling phone cards here.

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Rule No. 1 for Traveling When you are Not in Singapore: Always be punctual for your boarding time, no matter how terrible your experience has been with other transport operators & irregardless how unreliable their timings are. At Larkin, your ticket will state which berth to head to, so be nice and board at least before the departing time.

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Getting to the The Stadthuys
Moving around in Malacca is a breeze, I find it pretty clean and organise, compared to the other states I’ve been to. For eg. The layout of Melaka Sentral is pretty simple, one side for interstate buses and the other for domestic buses. Just hop on to the other side once you arrive. Domestic bus refers to buses that travel within Malacca, berth 17 is where you can hop on the bus to the Stadthuys aka the Dutch Square.

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Lots of green smack right in the middle of the terminal~
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No abandoned furniture and more trees!

1. Visit the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia
When you visit Christ Church and the Dutch Square, you are only exploring a small part of the heritage city! The Christ Church was built by the Dutch in the 18th century in the heart of their newly established town, the church is very picturesque from outside and is the main landmark of Melaka.

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Taking selfies infront of this logo is a must!

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Gaudy trishaws decorated with all kinds of cartoon characters. Watch them light up at night with their music blasting. You will be dazzled~

2. Those who work hard will be rewarded 
Workout your heart(as if walking so much is still not enough) and climb up St Paul’s Hill. Explore the ruins of St Paul’s Church and find out the history of this historic complex.

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Scenic View from the top of St Paul’s Hill

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3. Walk down St Paul’s Hill and check out the canons. 
This is one of the many Portuguese ruins in Malacca and the Porta de Santiago is one of them that’s part of a fortress called  A Formosa, This is the surviving gate for the fort.

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4. Dont Mess with.. Melaka is not so SERIOUS.
Unlike the campaign slogan, Melaka is doing its best to create a relaxing vibe through its street art and culture. The best way to see  street art is to stroll down melaka river, check out the back alley or simply by wandering around with no fixed direction. Here in Melaka, something will definitely catch your eye; a snapshot of daily life, the highly decorative religious buildings (even churches are painted in striking red) or a hippyish decorated hostel.

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Melaka River

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Dharma is everywhere

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Religious groups coexisting harmoniously side by side.

5. Find out what Satu Malaysia means.. 
When in Melaka, take a stroll down temple street and admire the harmony of various religious places of worship built beside each other. They are: Hinduism – Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple, Islam –  Kampung Kling Mosque,  Three Teachings – Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism) and Xiang Lin Si Temple (Buddhism).. It is a living testimony to future generations that racial and religious harmony is possible.

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The Cheng hoon Teng temple is the oldest Chinese temple still functioning in Malaysia. The temple contains exquisite and extremely colourful decorations and sculptures brought from China in the 18th century. This temple is close to the Jonker street, next to the temple is another, more recent, Xiang Lin Si Buddhist temple which offers a good view of the Cheng Hoon temple from and the whole street from its 2nd lvl terrace. Overall a must see site for tourists.

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Wayang Stage opposite the Temple
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Every corner of Melaka is so instaworthy

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Be amaze by the historic structures of Melaka

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6. H&M is here to provide free air conditioning when you cannot take the heat any longer. 
It’s kind of interesting to see the contrast of a modern retail chain surrounded by old buildings. Will be a good place to take shelter from the heat/rain outside!

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a new modern store at the entrance of Historical Jonker Street

7. Rent a bike and explore 
Simply download the Melaka Bike share app, follow the instructions and start riding. It cost only 10rm for a day!

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8. Buy Local products and Artifacts 
There are loads and loads of souvenirs everywhere in Melaka, you can even get them at the bus interchange. But this is the place where you everything is cluster in one building, you may compare prices and do some bargaining.

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Get your souvenirs here, remember to ask for the best price.

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I would really bring back lots of these handicrafts if i drive a lorry
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Take a break, have some fries
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Palawan Walk Market
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Another stretch of shops selling local specialty & souvenirs
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a night market just beside Palawan market

9. Take a ride on Menara Taming Sari, the only 360 degree viewing tower offering you a panoramic and spectacular view of Melaka City. 20170217_195907-01

10. Visit Jonker Street Night Market
This Night Market only operates on the weekend! Be sure you plan your trip right~

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Check out the pineapple tart signage

Most of the bars and posh dining places are along Jalan Hang Jebat. Nice place to chill and mingle with tourists from all over the world. I don’t think i have seen that much angmohs in my life, not even in Singapore’s Clark Quay.

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locals dance in the Hueykuan
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a huge wayang stage right in the middle of jonker streetZ

Locals were taking turns to go on stage and sing, mainly elderly people, but very entertaining. Awesome boost to the already very hype up atmosphere.

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Traditional Teochew Mua Chee

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Successful Campaign

This is what i love about Melaka, bold, cultured and clean. Their “Dont mess with Melaka” Campaign originated as a campaign to promote higher standards of cleanliness in Melaka. I believe the slogan encourages the community to love and protect their state, maintaining the cleanliness, lowering crime levels, becoming responsible states citizen.

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Malacca, I will be back!

Fading Colours : Rochor Centre

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Change is constant and inevitable. Generations of Singaporeans have been brought up to be accustomed to this reality of living in a land scarce and progressive country. Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority Planning (URA), many places will have served its purpose and be revamped to create a vibrant and sustainable place for Singaporeans to live and work in.

Therefore, “Modern day Kampungs” will soon be demolished and “villagers” will have to be relocated to new homes, just like how our pioneer generations faced in the early days, all in the good name of progress.

One of such “Modern day Kampungs” is the iconic Rochor Centre. Known for it’s 4 colour buildings. One of several city-centre podium complexes put up by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) from the mid-1970s into the 1980s. An expressway will be built in place of the HDB flats.

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Entrance to Rochor Centre
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convenience at your doorstep.

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All the tenants have left

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Once a lively and noisy playground, childhood memories for many residents.

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Somebody might have thrown this “happiness plate” out of their window?

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Just guessing if he could be one of the remaining residents here, almost had the urge to walk up and ask him some questions. But shy. Anyway, this picture really depicts a depressing scene in Singapore. I can’t speak for everyone, but to be force to move on with progressivism, especially when there is a lack of support & motivation to do so, would really be depressing. Let us be there for each other.

I pray that we will all practice the state of non-attachment and be truly happy.

Reveli Timing 0615

Waking up early in the morning to do chores, clear up some fridge space, make breakfast, clear all the trash, tidy up the weekend mess etc.. Sound like alot to do? But doing all this is one of the best feeling to start a day..

Realise some plants are dying.. we need to be diligent in watering the plants
Love the morning light shining into the kitchen
Our hse in the morning…

And finally when le parents leave the house, my job is done. The feeling of such accomplishment is shiok.. simple joys.. However, this lifestyle is temporary and i wont be able to do this very often once life is back on track, but meanwhile let me enjoy this experience, because #yolo.

Dawn of Happiness

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Sukhothai Historical Park covers the ruins of the ancient Sukhothai city, literally known as”Dawn of Happiness”, capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries in what is now Northern Thailand.

The ruins are basically a complex of temples and the royal palace. The city walls form a rectangle about 2 km east-west by 1.6 km north-south. There are 193 ruins on 70 square kilometers of land.

The park is also a world heritage site and is maintain by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand with help from UNESCO.

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Wat Mahatat

Some simple guidelines that visitors should follow when visiting..

  • Do respect all Buddha images. Do not attempt to climb the chedis or sit on the Buddha’s lap
  • Dress appropriately, wear something comfortable and loose.
  • No fires or smoking are allowed.
  • Bring along a handheld fan, a cap and apply sunblock!
  • Hydrate when you need, carry a water bottle with you.
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Close up shot of the Main Buddha at Wat Mahatat

There will be numerous opportunity to take nice and creative shots. All you need is some patience and a handheld fan. The weather can be a real killer.

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Offerings left behind by devotees
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Bodhi Sapling
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A mailbox pinned on a tree?

You are strongly encourage to rent a bike to explore the park. Bicycle rental are available near the park entrance, at about 30-50baht until daybreak at around 1900hrs. Exploring by foot is still possible though.

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Wat Sa Si
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The vajra seat

FYI Facts: Buddha statues originally did not exist because Buddha discourage idol worship. In spite of that, after Buddha’s passing, his disciples instead erected thrones made of valuable stones to remember the Enlightened one and his teachings. Buddha images then started appearing in 1st century CE in North India.

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I can almost feel the serene atmosphere
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Wat Si Chum

There are plenty of amenities in the park; you can find toilets, restaurants and even a massage parlor in the park. Outside the park is a cluster of eateries, and many shops selling souvenirs. You would have pass by before entering the park.

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Impressive view of the Buddha at Wat Si Chum
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Wat Chana Songkhram
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Wat Chang Lom

Best time to visit would be in November during Loy Krathong. When people decorate the park with lights and released candles and lotus into water bodies.

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Wat Saphan Hin

How to get there

  • Sukhothai Historical Park is located about 12km from the new city.
  • From Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok Airways operates two direct flights to Sukhothai daily.
  • Opening Hours: 06:00 – 18:00 daily

Luxurious camping in Bintan

Beautiful blue lagoon

Nope this photo is not heavily filtered. The canopi features the largest man-made saltwater crystal lagoon in south east Asia. I had only drop by to use their water sports facilities, cant wait to come again for a short stay.