Monday, June 30, 2008

Super Travel Systems

Whispers: Thinking of going back to Kota Kinabalu next year... AirAsia having promotion right now...

I read this article last week and found it a very good one to share... so here it is...

Sunday Star, Star-Mag, Sunday June 22, 2008

The hike in the price of oil has successfully done what environmentalists have been trying to do for decades: forced the public as well as the Government to seriously consider public transportation options.

EARLIER this month, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop announced that a more efficient public transport system will be among the main thrusts of Budget 2009.

“We will be improving public transport not only in Kuala Lumpur but also in other areas,” he was quoted as saying in The Star’s news pages on June 13.

According to the minister, only about 20% of Malaysians use public transport; in some developed countries, between 50% and 70% of the population do so.

“We hope to double (Malaysia’s) figure to 40% in the next five years, but we need to come up with a plan to encourage more people to use public transport,” he said.

May we present public transportation systems in five cities that do just that? Hopefully, the highlights of these efficient systems that we offer here will inspire ideas on how Malaysia could improve its own systems and achieve that 40% figure.

Portland, Oregon, United States

Strangely, in a country where most towns are planned around the use of cars, cars are not king in Portland. Instead of building freeways and widening roads, Portland chose to invest money in better public transportation.

But it was a very different story 30 years ago.

Thanks to forward-thinking public officials, Portland folk enjoy not only an efficient transport system but also car-less and treefilled streets in some areas of the city. – Travel Portland

Back in the 1970s, Portland was choking on its polluted air. According to a 1987 New York Times article (Portland: So long cars, hello people), the city’s “air quality violated (US) Federal standards” 275 days a year on average, in the mid-1970s.

But in 1978, the city made a radical move: passenger cars were banned from two main streets in the downtown area and a “cap” was placed on parking spaces in the city.

As a result, residents were forced to take public transport, but city officials eased the pain by providing thousands of parking bays around the city and – a radical concept! – free public transport in the “no cars” area, which is appropriately called “Fareless Square”. Today, it covers most of downtown Portland and the Lloyd District.

Portland now not only enjoys better air quality – it also has a stellar public transportation system. So stellar that in 2006, it was dubbed the best in the world by The best public services in the world segment on the BBC’s Newsnight programme.

According to the show, use of public transport in Portland rose 65% in 10 years, 1996 to 2006.

In the city, people have a number of highly integrated transportation options: buses, trams, the Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light rail, and streetcars. There’s even an aerial tram that connects the South Waterfront district to the main Oregon Health and Science University campus and hospital.

And if they so desire, people can opt to bike around the city. Portland is one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities and has a network of bike lanes to ensure that it’ll be a safe ride all the way. Bicyclists can also take their bikes on the MAX or on buses. In those 10 years Newsnight looked at, cycling traffic increased by a staggering 257%!

And it doesn’t end there – because roller-blading and skateboarding are also encouraged, there are skateboarding lanes too!


Back in 2006, when over 2,000 travellers from around the world voted that London had the world’s best public transportation system, many Londoners snorted in disbelief – understandably, since the announcement came after a series of strikes had disrupted underground subway services in August.

(The survey by travel website TripAdvisor gave the second spot to New York City, third to Paris, and fourth and fifth to Washington DC and Hong Kong respectively. The worst system in the world belonged to Los Angeles – though some Malaysians may want to dispute that.)

London’s Tube is the world’s oldest system – and looks it, at times! But it also has an enviable 268 stations and 400km of tracks. – AFP

Despite its win, London’s public transport is also considered one of the most expensive. And its system of underground trains and stations (called the “Tube”) are accessed through a network of narrow stairs and tunnels that are not very disabled friendly.

Still, as one British newspaper, The Independent, puts it, while the Tube is not perfect, what makes it a gem is that it goes everywhere people want to go.

For one, the Tube, being the oldest underground train system in the world, has 268 stations and 400km of tracks. It connects to a train system that makes it easy for commuters to not only travel into and out of London but around all of Britain, too.

In 2003, London’s mayor, Ken Livingstone, introduced the controversial congestion charge to reduce traffic congestion in central London.

When a vehicle enters a congestion charge zone between 7am and 6pm, the driver is charged £8 (about RM50). Because there are cameras at every entry point that can record license plate numbers with 90% accuracy, drivers cannot skip payment; and if they try, they face a stiff £250 (RM1,600) fine.

London is the largest city so far to adopt congestion pricing, and it’s certainly paying off. According to the 2007 edition of Sustainable Transport, the congestion charge has increased London’s bus patronage by 32%, bike use by 43%, and now some 70,000 fewer vehicles enter the charging zone on a daily basis.

Before the charge was introduced, Londoners spent 50% of their time in traffic snarls, which cost the city around £2mil to £4mil (RM12.8mil to RM25.6mil) every week.

Besides reducing traffic and improving air quality (there was a 16% reduction of road traffic CO2 emissions), the congestion charge also raise a gross revenue of about £213mil (RM1.3bil), with £90mil (RM576mil) covering operating costs.

These initiatives won the city the 2008 Sustainable Transport Award, given out by the US-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Another way in which London ensures efficiency is by working with private bus companies (it has more than 20 years experience doing so) that are closely monitored.

The city hires community activists to electronically record bus arrivals and publishes the results on the Internet. The private transit operators are paid for the number of passengers they carry and on-time performance.

Recent incentives for the three private operators to grow subway customer base has resulted in a 50% increase in capacity.

And, of course, those iconic double-decker buses also provide an increased customer base.

Curitiba, Brazil

Curitiba’s public transport system is non-subsidised, cost- and energy- efficient, and well designed – it is no wonder that it is hailed as a model for the rest of the world to follow.

The Brazilian city of 3 million received the United Nations Environmental Award in 1990, the Worldwatch Institute Prize in 1991, and the CITIES Award for Excellence in 2002.

The man responsible for putting the city on the world map is former three-time Curitiba mayor, Jamie Lerner. Lerner, an architect, was responsible for developing Curitiba’s “bus rapid transit” (BRT) system over 30 years ago.

Curitiba’s efficient system has passengers paying fares at the tube bus stations so they can board buses quickly without having to pay the fare on them. –

This system is said to be the most efficient, cost-effective public transportation system in the world, and more than 80 countries have adopted it.

Mini buses pick up people from residential neighbourhoods and “feed” them to buses travelling in dedicated bus lanes that circle the city. Passengers alight and get on buses from tube-like bus stops that have outlets such as post offices and public phones. To speed up the movement of buses and passengers, passengers pay their fares at these bus stops rather than on the buses.

“A system of bus rapid transit is not only dedicated lanes,” said Lerner in a 2006 interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (From Brazil: A different kind of bus system, April 12).

“You have to have really good boarding conditions – that means paying before entering the bus, and boarding at the same level. And at the same time, having a good schedule and frequency. We have a system where you don’t have to wait more than one minute. That defines the quality.”

The bus stops’ unique tube shape allow for easy disembarkation and embarkation. –

Besides the BRT, Lerner also used the space in the city to effectively support the transportation system; for instance, houses for the elderly were built near public transportation hubs.

“Seventy per cent of the population of Curitiba uses public transportation and bicycles because we have made it easy and convenient for them,” he said in an interview with design website Design 21 last year.

Land use in the city has actually been planned so that it supports public transit systems. For instance, buildings along the dedicated bus ways are up to six stories tall, with that height gradually lowering within a few blocks until it’s down to single storey homes. Mixing densities like this ensures enough of the population is within walking distance of bus stops.

According to the 2005/2006 article Curitiba’s Bus System is Model for Rapid Transit, Curitibanos spend only 10% of their income on travel, which is way below Brazil’s national average.

Lerner puts it best: “If you provide good public alternatives for private transport, you won’t have traffic problems. Can you imagine how much better the city could become with 30% fewer cars running in the street?” (from the same Seattle Post-Intelligencer article).


A few decades ago, Paris was about to make itself a car-centric city. But in 1974, newly elected French President Valéry Giscard-d’Estaing refused to continue an expressway project; it was a radical step, perhaps even a politically risky one, but Paris moved in a new urban planning direction.

Instead of using an inefficient system that primarily utilises cars (that would create traffic jams and require massive amounts of parking space), Paris began developing its public transportation.

This development was energised when Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë and deputy mayor of transportation Denis Baupin came into power in 2001 with aggressive initiatives that have made Paris greener and less car dependent.

This Vélib self-service public bicycle station is one of 1,451 found around Paris. The Vélib has successfully reduced Paris traffic by 5%. – Reuters

The moves helped Paris share the Sustainable Transport Award in 2008 with London.

The changes made to Paris:

·Quartier Verts (Green Neighbourhoods) programme: In order to revitalise neighbourhoods and make its streets safer, squares and plazas were renovated, sidewalks widened, pedestrian-priority shared streets were created (where legal speeds limits were lowered to 15kp/h) and crosswalks were added. Free parking was eliminated. On some roads, traffic was slowed down by reducing the speed limit from 50kp/h to 30kp/h. There, cyclists were allowed to roam.

·Escapes Civilisés programme: Traffic-heavy roads were reshaped to reduce traffic. For example, at Boulevard de Magenta, which had 1,400 vehicles using it every hour in each direction, sidewalks were widened from 4m to 8m, granite separators were placed for a dedicated bus lane, bikeways were built, and trees, street furniture, and additional landscaping were added to beautify the area.

·More transit options: The Mobilien BRT travels along special bus “corridors” to avoid traffic jams. In 2006, trams made a comeback in Paris after a 70-year absence, and the famed 214km and 300-station Paris Metro carries about 4.5 million passengers a day. Access to these various transportation systems is made quick and easy by the high-tech Navigo magnetic card that can be detected quickly, even while tucked securely inside a bag!

In July last year, Paris introduced a mode of transport that has fired the transportation world with enthusiasm. It is ecologically friendly, tres cheap, and gives people a good workout too. It’s Vélib, a bike-for-hire scheme that has made bicycles the chic vehicle of choice in the City of Lights.

These pearly grey bikes can be picked up from one station and dropped off at another. The bicycles are used purely for short trips; it is free for 30 minutes, but ride it longer and one will be charged ?1 to ?4 (RM5 to RM20) per half an hour.

Vélib, which is a hybrid of the words velo (bicycle) and liberte (freedom), is an improvement over past bike-sharing efforts in Europe. In the 1960s, Amsterdam placed free bicycles on the street but many broke down and all were eventually stolen. Bicycle sharing schemes are also found in cities such as Lyons, Barcelona, and Copenhagen, though not one on Vélib’s scale.

By December 2007, there were more than 20,600 bikes in 1,451 stations (many made from converted parking spaces); basically, there’s one station every 300m in central Paris. Vehicles will shift the bikes around to ensure that there will always be bikes at the stations. The result of Vélib and traffic reduction initiatives? According to the US organisation ITDP, between 2001 and 2006, traffic volume has gone down: private vehicles by 20%, trucks by 11%, and tourist buses by 11%. More people are taking the bus, and 12% more people are taking the Metro too.

According to a Time magazine article two weeks ago (Bike-sharing gets smart, June 12, 2008), the Vélib programme has reduced Paris car traffic by 5%.

Humorously, Baupin has been called “Pol Pot” and “Khmer Vert” because of his tough policies, but not many are complaining since air quality in Paris has improved (C02 emissions were reduced by 9%) and despite the increase of two-wheelers, there are now fewer road accidents. (Between 2001 and 2005, injuries decreased by 25%.)

The Vélib programme has already inspired imitators. Washington DC will be the first city in the United States to have this form of public transportation. Its version, the SmartBike, is a high-tech bicycle implanted with chips to prevent theft and they have key card locks.

Hong Kong

Because the island is very hilly, it has a high urban density, and limited land area (just slightly more than 1,000sq km). Obviously, building wide, multi-lane highways within city environs is difficult if not impossible. As a result, urban planners have been forced to come up with innovative ways to ferry people around.

According to the 2004 book Sustainable Development (by Lisa Hopkins), almost 90% of trips in Hong Kong are made via the public transportation system, which includes buses, trams, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR, equivalent of the Klang Valley’s LRT), Kowloon-Canton Railway, ferries, and light rail transit.

That makes it one of the most well used public transportation systems in the world.

The meandering sets of escalators that make up the famous Mid-Levels escalators is said to be the world’s longest outdoor escalator. – File photo / The Star

With the stored-value Octopus Card, travellers can hop on to any of these transportation options quickly with just a wave of the one card.

Hong Kong also has the longest (covered) outdoor escalator system in the world; the Mid-Levels Escalator ferries over 50,000 people daily (for free, obviously) over a distance of 800m and a vertical distance of 135m. The escalator enables commuters to travel up and down the island’s hilly terrain without having to take longer surface roads.

It began operating on Oct 15, 1994, and consists of a series of stairs, escalators, and walkways that stretch from the central district of Hong Kong to the residential neighbourhoods at Mid-Levels. From 6am to 10.20am, the escalator ferries people downhill; it goes uphill from after 10.20am until midnight. The escalator has revitalised businesses near its path and has proven a godsend to commuters, not to mention a fascination with tourists.

However, it can be uncomfortably close to apartments, giving travellers more than an eyeful of a person’s abode. Critics add that it has not served its main purpose (to reduce traffic) and is very expensive to maintain.

(Article and pictures courtesy of

Pushing The Limits

Whispers: My manager told me earlier that both me and him would be going to Penang again, maybe in the second week of July... Yahoo!!!!


It really feel great. Having the chance to play badminton twice a week have been a wish come true to me, when a group of friends of mine decided to have a weekly session. Though it may be kinda far from my place, I am willing to face the current Klang's traffic every weekend just to be able to play badminton.

Yesterday was the second time we come together for a game. As everyone gearing up to play, one of my friend, HX, actually "challenged" me for a game of single... No a person who step away from a "challenge", I accepted it and after many games of double, it was down to both of us to play the single match.

Knowing that my stamina would not last me for too long, I decided to finish off the game asap... Also, with my experience of being "belasah" by my other "kaki bulu tangkis" (fellow badminton players), I have learn what is the basic essense of playing single. Counting on these two aspects, I really played a very fast game and forcing him to make mistakes... It was to my surprise (and many others as well) that I managed to finish off the game 15 - 0... I am not bragging because HX really gave me a great fight and with due respect, I doubt this would ever happen again...

What really struck me is how I managed to keep myself playing the whole game. I used to be a person with not much of stamina and even playing a game of badminton then is like killing me already (this was when I started playing badminton). But now, I can proudly say that I have push myself to another level altogether. Of course, once the game finished, I was totally exhausted and was lying there, grasping for oxygen...

Hope I can keep this up and continue to move forward.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

By Bike To Malaysia

SBC and her sister is in Kota Kinabalu now. She call me in the middle of the day...
SBC: I hav found the "Yoyo" shop that you told me the other day... but what should I have???
Me: Pearl Milky Tea or Sea Coconut Milky Tea
SBC: where got??? All also in Mandarin one... You are bluffing me ah???
Me: Check nicely first...
SBC: Oh, I see it... Oh, I see it... Okay, bye bye... (hang up)
Me: ????
(It happens somehow like this la... Make me long for going back to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. How I wish to go back there soon...)


Saw something very interesting today in The Star Metro. A Malaysian, who is currently residing in Gattieres, France (near Nice), is currently on his way back to his hometown in Segamat, Malaysia by travelling on a modified motorbike, a BMW F650GS Dakar.

Along the way, Sheen Kua (the name of the man) would be crossing 22 countries and clocking up a total distance of 35,000km in the process.

The journey started in mid-April 2008 and Sheen Kua is expected to reach his hometown by end of July 2008. Apart from being a childhood dream, Sheen Kua actually hope that he would be able to help raise funds for The Good Shepherd Welfare Home in Segamat, and to create awareness of the place which is run solely on public donations.

Some of the place the he has pass though (according to the pictures posted in his website are: Cremona, Venice, Slovenska Bistrica, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Istanbul, Ankara Cappadocia, Erzincan Dogubayazit, Iran, Uzbekistan, Khazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Currently, he is somewhere in Pakistan. He plans to have his motorbike air-freighted either from New Delhi, India or from Kathmandu, Nepal to Bangkok in Thailand, from where he will continue his ride south to Malaysia.

After Malaysia (with some rest and quality time with his family (which would be flying down from France), he would embark on his second leg of his journey through Indonesia and Australia.

To keep track of Sheen Kua's journey, check out his website here. Remember to leave a comment/encouragement for him...

Here are two pictures of Sheen during part of his journey...


Sheen Kua in Cremona
(Coutesy of

Sheen Kua in Istanbul
(Picture courtesy of TheStar Online)

p.s.: Someday, I wish I could do something similar... Someday...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Latest Project - Retreat Camp

Whispers: I am oganizing a white water river rafting outing on 31th August 2008. Sungai Kampar - RM155 per pax (excluding petrol and toll to go there). Interested??? Contact me for more details.


It has been a while since I last post something here. Not that I dont want to but I couldnt find a good topic to blog about... Really, for the past few days, my mind have been blank, not knowing what I should blog about.

I guess there is this one big project that I am doing right now that is making me so absent-minded except for that project itself. The project that I am taking about is the Retreat Camp 2008, the so-called training camp that someone would organize to "train" the youth camp committee members...

I conducted countless retreat camp before but mostly done in KCBA. The only time that I did it outside KCBA would be two years (or maybe three years) back when it was done in an isolated bungalow somewhere in Dengkil.

This year, I am doing it again there and I really dont know how it would turn out to be. The previous retreat camp here, I was in charge of some of the stuff only as Weoi Li, Ji Long and Wei Loong was there to take care of the rest. But this time, I am the only one doing all the planning. Luckily, there would be some seniors coming to help me.

As for the activities that I am going to conduct there, I have to keep a tight lip as it is going to be a surprise to everyone, including the seniors as they would be joining the activities as well.

Just hope that my preparation is good enough... Wish me luck... Will update this blog with photos and write-up on the retreat camp soon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Daughtry to rock KL

Whispers: A Chinese saying "Fatt Tou Yao Fo" (Buddha also has his fire) really has his truth in it. I, a normally happy-go-lucky guy in my office, was being angered by a colleague who like to talk crap and bringing me into the topic. I really brushed him off hard...


Just found out that Daughtry is coming to KL for a concert. Details of the venue and ticket would be announce soon...

Would I be able to watch it??? Hope so...

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Whispers: I am blogging from Starbuck, Centro


Normally, it is almost impossible for me to be going online at this hour of the day (9 pm) but today is different. At about 7.15 pm, some of the houses around my area was experiencing blackout. Yes, my house was one of them.

I am not afraid of no fan moving but I just cannot stand having mosquitoes attacking me... In the end, I choose to get out of my house and I end up in Starbuck, Centro... sipping chocolate cream while going online and having my mobile recharged... (yes, my main objective is to have my mobile charged... hehe)

It is really nice hanging out here except for the occasionally loud laughter from some girls nearby. Not that they are beautiful or something so, the only thing that I can do is to ignore them... By the way, it is really cold here...

Plain S***** People

Whispers: I was very happy (got my claims from my company) until this happened... :(


I have reason to say that there are many i**** people living in this world. Not to say that I am smart but then again, if you dont want others to brand you as s*****, try to at least use some common sense in your daily life...

The one i**** that I have encounter just now (yesterday) is a family friend of my neighbour. As our main gate is next to each other, it is usual for them to have a car park in front of the house (they have many cars). During a typical day, they would park their car nicely in their "own" front gate and it always gave me enough space to drive my car into my porch.

But it was really different yesterday. Number one, I have never seen the car before (that is how I deduct that it belong to one of their friend) and two, it was parked for his convenient sake (simply parked hoping that it would not obstruct anyone).

Why, in the first place, that you would think that no one would be coming back at the time your car is parked there for your convenient sake??? Do you have no brain at all??? I guess you are just plain S*****!

p.s.: I know that I should not be doing this but then again, some times, it just cannot be help... At least I am sensoring my words...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why I choose Taman Rakyat over a Gym

Whispers: Really, really sleepy!

I am not condemning those that go to gym but I just want to speak out on the advantage of going to a public park (in my case, Taman Rakyat). Also, I am not saying that going to the gym is bad and yes, it does had its advantage as well.

So, here are some of my reasoning why I choose going to Taman Rakyat over a Gym:
  • Fresh air directly from the tree
  • Different challenges (different routes)
  • See more faces (Young and old)
  • See more attics (childrens, kids playing around)
  • See more motivations (you feel encourage when you see someone else doing the same thing as you)
  • Can go anytime
  • Can go with anyone
  • It is free (this is the best reason, ever)


Whispers: The temple near my home is having a celebration. They are having concert and I cant get my sleep at least until 12.00am... Sigh.


Exercising was not a part of my life previously. But when my weight exceed the 67kg mark last year (which was more than my dad's), I started to freak out.

I was determined to get back into a better shape and weight when I started doing some basic exercise. The first one that I took up was sit-up, which I still do up to today. In less than 2 months, I managed to reduce my weight to 64kg (a massive 3kg reduction which was also a very strong motivation).

Eventually, I began to fill in my spare time with more type of exercises and for now, I am doing the following:
  • Sit-up (everyday)
  • Squating (everyday)
  • Stairs climbing (everyday from Ground floor to 5th floor, twice a day)
  • Badminton (every Tuesday; hope to add in a Friday as well)
  • Jogging (Saturday or Sunday evening)
  • Tai-Chi Chuan (Sunday Morning)
Dont be shock with the list above as I do skip some of them every now and then. Some people would say that I am a exercise freak right now but with the result showing that I can be better, I couldnt be bother about it.

As for the record, I am currently about 62.5kg and I believe I still have a long way to go...

My ultimate aim is to hit and maintain my weight at 60kg and to build up more muscle than fats (yes, I still have some but at least my tummy is flat liao... haha)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Taman Negara Extra - Leeches

Whispers: Went to pump my petrol for the first time after the most recent price hike... really feel the pinch...


My last post was actually the last post for my Taman Negara trip but there was one thing that I must mentioned as without mentioning it, a trip to Taman Negara would never be complete.

I am talking about the all-too-well-known leeches that prey on your blood... Through a website, I found out that there are actually two type of leeches (brown leech and tiger leech) in Taman Negara. I have encountered one of them (brown leech) previously in Sabah and yes, they suck kinda alot of blood from me... It is easy to identify the kind of leech that bite you... Does it hurt? If it hurt, then it should be the tiger leech. Brown leech's bite does not give you any feeling... sometimes you would not even notice until after it fall off.

The funny thing about leeches is that I was not afraod of them even on my first encounter... In fact, I was fascinated with them and on this trip to Taman Negara, I was actually looking forward to get at least a leech to bite me but it never happens...

In fact, one of the guide actually caught one and pass it to me. I tried to let it bite me but after wandering around my hand for quite a while, it still wont bite. Disappointed, I let it go.

A while after, I caught another leech and to my disappointment, it, too, does not want to bite me.

Anyway, for those who want to go to Taman Negara but are afraid of all these leeches, get bottle of salt water with a nozzle ready. Remember not to cook the salt water as it tend to clot the nozzle when you use it... If you found a leech sucking your blood, just spray it with the salt water... it would come off in a matter of second...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Taman Negara 9 - The Journey Back

Whispers: When can I get to sleep like there is no tomorrow??? I guess in the far future...


Waking up early, we pack up our stuff and went to the floating restaurant for our breakfast before taking our boat journey to Kuala Tembeling. Managed to find some time to take some group photos and the journey back actually provide some nice scenery for us to take pictures...


Group photo (serious???)

Group photo (Not so serious???)

Virgin forest

Something different, I think...


For some, it was a boring journey... but for other, like the Caucasian lady, she looks happy...

cruising back

Coconut trees...

Taman Negara 8 - Night Water Safari

Whispers: Dont understand why but I got black eyes like panda...


The title of this "activity" should have been Night Water cruise as a real safari actually enable you to see many animals in the wild. What we actually did see were 3 deers (a first for me) and a possible lemur and some incests...

Even then, one can still enjoy the calming feeling when the speedboat engine was turned off and the boat was drifting along with the current. The serenity of the whole atmosphere cant be describe by world. It is just... wonderful...

Know that my camera does not have the ability to catch pictures at night, it was great to be able to just enjoy the activity.

Lastly, I must mention how cold the trip was and if you are going for the same cruise, wear your jacket and enjoy the experience.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Taman Negara 7 - Orang Asli Village

Whispers: I would be alot poorer today after I was force "belanja" by my colleague...


Immediately after the rapid shooting, we were bought to an Orang Asli Settlement / Village that is located near a riverbank. Here, we were being demonstrated on how they could start a fire without using a match or lighter.

Also, we were given a chance to test their hunting blowpipe. I tried. Something different...

After the visit, we did stop by Nusa Resort (cant remember the whole name) and have alot of fun there, playing with water and natural colouring from some stones... Also, the water was so cold, it was really refreshing...

One last thing that I did here was to stand on the sandbank and dont move. Little fishes swam nearby and start "cleaning" my leg of dead skin (natural fish therapy)... hehe

Taman Negara 6 - Rapid Shooting

Whispers: Spared from going karaoke tonight with my colleague... No need to get drunk... Hooray!


It was not what I thought it would be as in the end, this is the part of the whole trip that I enjoyed the most. Initially thought as just a ride through some rough river, it turn out to be much more than that.

This was the time when the speedboat would be cruising at highspeed nearby each other and we get to splash water to either our friends on the other boat(s) or those behind us... Splashing can be done, either using the hand or the paddle to direct the water towards those that we want to attack.

Our guide start making some of us wet even before the rapid shooting...

Another victim...

The rest was not spared from getting wet too...

I was still dry until this fella come and...

Water attack...

One of the rapid...

Our guide attacking the other boat...

Dont really know what happens here...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Taman Negara 5 - Bukit Terisek

Whispers: Currently being "blackmailed" by my colleagues to "belanja" them lunch in Tai Thong Restaurant. This is going to drill a very big hole in my pocket... :(


After completing the canopy walk, the next activity that we have that morning was the jungle trekking to the peak of Bukit Terisek. The first part of the hike was harder as the trail was very steep. I was the last one to reach point A as I was moving very slowly. The hike was actually not a challenge to me as I have been training myself for the past two months (taking the stairs to my office on the 5th floor every working day and jogging in Taman Rakyat every weekend).

After point A, I threw a challenge to my group to see if there is anyone willing to follow me jogging up to point B, which is actually the peak of Bukit Terisek. Two of them actually followed me throughout the jog and we managed to conquered the 400 meters in less than 10 minutes...

After taking many scenery pictures of the place, we hike back to the jetty to take a boat ride to the floating restaurant for our lunch...

The view from Bukit Terisek... On a good shiny day, one can see Mount Tahan from here. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when I was there...

Me at the peak of Bukit Terisek (344m). If this continue, I might be able to climb Mount Kinabalu in the future...

Taman Negara 4 - Canopy Walk

Whispers: Finally, got my much-needed sleep yesterday...


Dubbed the longest canopy walk in the world, it actually didnt disappoint me as it was about 300m long... The only regret that I have on this is that i didnt managed to try the newly extended canopy walk which was another 230m long.

As someone who is abit afraid of height, a few part of the canopy walk was actually kinda scary. Yet, I managed to cross it without any problem.

The gang while waiting for the canopy walk to open...

Some of us before I embark on the canopy walk...

View from the canopy walk

Looking at how happy they are, you should understand how great the place is...

A timber that can be seen from the canopy...

The canopy walk...

The extended part of the canopy walk that was not open for public yet... (Disappointed)

Some of the gang while walking down the hill to meet with our guides...

Group photo

Group photo with the two guides...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taman Negara 3 - Video Presentation and Night Jungle Trekking

Whispers: Sleepy... Zzzzzzzz.........


Night scene of Kuala Tahan (view from Mutiara Taman Negara)

What to wear: T-shirt, cargo pant or shorts, slippers
Remember: Mosquito repellent

Nothing much can be said about this presentation apart from it being done in the 5 Stars Taman Negara and it shows alot of beautiful animals and plants that can be found in Taman Negara.

Somehow, the presentation is too good that many of us was getting sleepy half way through the video. Maybe it is because of very comfortable chair and the air-con...

Mushroom found somewhere near the track...

We continue the night with a night jungle trekking in the nearby surrounding. To my disappointment, we didnt really see much of incest, just a couple of bugs and a luminescent mushroom... We also stop by a hide that is being used to watch animal getting some drinks from a natural salt lake. The guide actually told us that the salt water to the animals are just like 100 Plus or Livita/Gatorade to us... While we were there, two deers were having their share of the salt water...

Taman Negara 2 - Ear Cave Exploration

Whispers: A friend just came back from Vietnam... It has been ages since I saw him... having a gathering with him and a few other friends tonight.


How we looks like while we were hiking to Ear Cave...

What to wear: T-shirt, cargo pant or shorts, sport shoe or crocs-type slipper, small compact camera
Remember: Mosquito repellent, salt water in bottle

The Ear Cave exploration started out as a typical cave exlporation but after a while in it, you would actually find out that it is not that typical actually.

The reason it is called Ear Cave is mainly due to the characteristic of the cave that started out with a big entrance and progessively become smaller and smaller. It is not that adventurous as it is only 80 metres long but the limited space in it actually make it enjoyable (at least for those who like caving, like me :P).

The best thing about this cave is how near you can get to a bats... my previous "close-encounter" is about 10 metres away but this time, I was about 2 to 3 metres away from a flock of them. It is really a great experience. Be ready to get your on their s*** as it was everywhere...

Some pictures taken during the cave exploration:

Ear Cave...

The entrance...

The bats hanging on the wall in the cave... it was really near and I was having goosebumps thinking of it...

Some of the gang in front of the cave entrance...

Part of the cave that we need to go through... see how small it is...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taman Negara 1 - Overview

Whispers: Palm oil price is very volatile. My customer does not want to buy... no business = no work... very boring...


If you love nature, Taman Negara is really a place that you should go, at least once.

You can create your own plan of what you want to do there or you can signed up for one of the package available from travel agencies... Basically, the price is about RM200++ per person to at least RM350 per person on a basic 3D2N package.

Advisable to take the package if this is your first time here as it would cover most of the thing that you should try here.

The package that I took, which cost me RM350 (yes, I took the basic package but it comes with abit of upgrades as our group was consisted of 22 person altogether) is include of the following activities:

Ear Cave Exploration
Flora and Fauna Video Presentation
Night Jungle Trekking
Tahan Hide to watch some animal
Canopy Walk
Day Jungle Trekking to Bukit Teresik
Rapid Shooting
Visit to Orang Asli Village
Water Night Safari

Before I continue about each of the above mentioned activities, I would like to cover more on some important information (which many people ignore in their post).

Advisable attire:
Short cargo pants or something similar
Sport shoe and/or slipper

What else should you bring:
Torchlight (LED type or those powerful type)
Salt water (not-cooked) in a bottle with nozzle
Mosquito repellent
Camera (weather-proof / water proof is the best)

P.S.: More posts on Taman Negara soon... working on the pictures now...