1. Calm by sunset

    Penang can get very hot at this time of the year but once the sun starts to set, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the warm balmy breeze. 

     
  2. Penang in 72 hours

    The impromptu trip back to Penang the last 3 days was probably the best decision ever. I managed to meet up with my tumblr buddy, E, as he make a pit stop in my home city before heading to Sydney. Travelling with him to Penang was Daisann – a well-travelled and very knowledgeable journalist who’s famous column (Real Travel) was published in National Geographic Traveler for more than 10 years. She now runs a food tour company called Little Adventures in Hong Kong, obviously in Hong Kong.  The three of us, all with the same common interest in one particular topic – FOOD, make this meet up one hell of an interesting one. So much laughter, so many stories shared over cocktails and champagne. Good times!

    Throughout the 3 days, we explored the heritage part of Georgetown, eating our way through – by the streets, alleyways, coffee shops and food centers. No fancy restaurants, just simple hawker fare that Penang is famous for. We even explored to the other side of the island - Balik Pulau, to look for the famous assam laksa but alas, luck wasn’t on our side as the stall was closed. (The owner is currently on holiday probably somewhere in the world looking for delicious food to eat just like us). We ended up eating chicken rice at a local coffee shop which turns out to have one of the best char siew (bbq pork) and siew yok (roast pork) we have ever tasted. Travelling is all about exploring and trying out new things isn’t it? 

    Apart from all the eating, we also did some exploring on various attractions in town. From Khoo Kongsi to Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion to Butterfly Farm, we did good covering all other attractions within the short time frame. Out of all, we enjoyed the Butterfly Farm the most as we get to see and “feel” the butterflies either flying freely or staying stationary on the hibiscus sipping the sap. The “green house” with thick vegetation and flowers creates a natural habitat for these fragile little creatures.   

    Besides all these attractions, we also found Seven Terraces Boutique hotel by chance as we were walking to Coffee Atelier one afternoon. The boutique hotel is beautiful and chic, with modern and colonial antique furniture all over. Amazing light all across the lobby which makes it very photogenic too. But the one thing that got us hooked was Bababar – an in house bar with an interesting array of cocktails and whisky selection. We went in for a cup of tea in the afternoon, liked it so much that we return at night for more drinks. This time around with cocktails to unwind after a long, tiring day of walking.

    I hope they enjoyed their stay in Penang as much as I enjoyed hosting them in my home city. Now, let me just keep this short and sweet and let the photo do the talking. They are arranged in the same color scheme inspired by Alice Gao.

    Have a great Easter Sunday! 

     
  3. Art is Rubbish is Art 

    Penang has been under a lot of limelight (the good one that is) lately thanks to a very talented Lithuanian street artist by the name of Ernest Zacharevic. His tongue in cheek street art got everyone talking, especially this one, went viral and created a buzz among locals and tourist alike. I have even seen the exact same drawing in the village of Puanyu, Guangzhou, China and was shocked to see how it was plagiarized by another artist in such a short matter of time. A quick google image search of this street artist will lead you to his various masterpieces in Penang. 

    The photos above were taken at Ernest’s first solo exhibition named “Art is Rubbish is Art” located at an abandoned bus depot just minutes away from my house. I swear I passed by this bus depot more often than I take the MRT in Singapore but I didn’t know it was once a bus depot until last month. The exhibition showcase his work on various canvases – on walls, old wooden doors, gunny sack, unused items, and vintage wooden blinds into a work of art. It might look very simple, but the effort of drawing on walls under the hot tropical sun can be quite a challenge.

    Seeing the locals (old and young) all out supporting this exhibition, taking snapshots and talking about “ART” makes me really proud to call myself Penangite and this beautiful island home. Now, whenever I am back in Singapore, a lot of my Singaporean and expats friends will tell me how much they’ve heard about Penang and can’t wait to visit soon. 

    We might not have Banksy, but we have this Lithuanian artist to thank for putting Penang in the spotlight and hopefully an art hub in South East Asia one day. 

     
  4. A thoughtful quote from Ellie Rodriquez about missing home and what matters. 

    I am currently back in Penang for a week to celebrate the Chinese New Year with the family and catching up with friends.

     
  5. overcast

    you never know how much i hate overcast skies. as much as i love the dramatic clouds, it is sometimes very difficult when it comes to editting - some parts tend to overexposed easily while others, under.

    this photo was taken along gurney drive on a gloomy sunday morning. it was after our breakfast that i decided to drop by for a quick photoshoot at the seafront promenade. i’ve never seen low tide during the daytime before so you can imagine how excited i was.

     
  6. this bowl of noodle proves to be hearty, simple and delicious.  one can never go hungry in penang, anytime of the day. 

     
  7. penang in 5 photos

    no doubt a short trip back, but spending quality time with the family is all that matters

     
  8. church street pier

    all is good back in penang

     
  9. soothing

    long weekend for us here in Singapore as the muslim community will celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri tomorrow and the following day, Aug 9th, will be Singapore’s 48th Birthday.

    here’s wishing all my muslim friends here a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and to others, happy holidays! 

     
  10. meeting the giant

     
  11. boardwalk cafe

    such inviting place for a good cup of coffee 

    joining?

     
  12. .. so get out and play

    took this at the waterfront in kota kinabalu, sabah last weekend. 

    beautiful light that day

     
  13. hot seat

    i loaned the fujiX100s for this entire trip to get used to it and to see its versatility before making the decision if i should get it. selling at a very premium price for a point and shoot camera, i have to say other than some minor off focus issue and very sensitive during low light (no image stabilizer?! or am i missing something here?), i am pretty impressed with what this camera can do.

    if i can’t sleep thinking about this camera for the next one week, ill buy it!

     
  14. The Hike: Part III - Summit

    As I walked closer to Low’s Peak (first pic), I saw a long line of people queuing up to take photos with the signboard that says you’re standing at 4,095m above sea level. The last 20m before the summit requires you to climb on rocks and because there were too many people wanting to take photos of the signboard, it actually causes human traffic jam. You only get a few minutes up at the summit as others will be waiting for their turn. I reached the summit just over 7am with a huge sigh of relief and a sense of victory. Just when I thought nothing can beat the feeling when I stood in the middle of Times Square, NYC few years back, this one topped it off hands down. The feeling of accomplishment after the difficult hike while looking at the unobstructed view in front of me – no words can describe, no words!   

    I spent just 5 minutes on top before making my way down for breakfast and check out from the rest house. I was lucky to be accompanied by the guide as he guided me all the way down. From the guest house, my friends made their way down to the bottom first as I need more time to rest and relax my muscles. After an hour, it was another painstaking 6km downhill. Thank god, I had a walking stick with me for support.  

    All of us reached the bottom of the mountain by 4pm and everyone was presented with 2 certificates. To those who didn’t make it to the top, it will be a color cert and another one in black and white stating at which level you stopped during the hike. I reached the summit so I was presented with 2 color certificates. We then took the chartered bus and headed back to the city before flying back the next following day. 

    To sum it up, climbing Mt Kinabalu is an experience and I will carry it with me the rest of my life. Conquering Mt Kinabalu is not tough, but it’s not easy either. You need a lot of stamina and endurance to push it through. Be prepared physically and mentally before the hike and you’ll do alright.

    As for now, if a foreigner throw me a challenge and ask if I have conquered the highest mountain in my home country, I can proudly answer – Been There, Done That.  

     

     
  15. The Hike: Part II

    The early morning hike started at 230am which means we have to wake up by 1am, brush our teeth (with icy cold water!), dress up in our windbreakers, beanie and headlamp before heading down to the canteen for supper. Upon waking up from the mere 4 hours rest, I found myself shivering, down with fever, feeling nausea and the worst headache ever. I stood up from my lower bunk bed and had to sit down again. Everything was spinning around and I can barely stand.

    I turned to my bag and search for the strip of paracetamol that I brought along. Pop in 2 tablets, rested a while and I felt much better. The buffet supper started at 2am but as I limped walked down slowly at 1:45am; the entire canteen was already almost filled up with hungry hikers waiting for their food. Within minutes, the chef and his team whipped up some mean spread which includes oats, hot drinks, noodles, porridge, toast, scrambled eggs and anything carbohydrate loaded food. I did not want to overeat and risk of going to the loo later so I just had a piece of toast, some scrambled eggs, a few spoonfuls of oats (mix with blueberry jam – to add in some sugar for energy later) and wash it down with a cup of locally brewed tea.

    And then off we went – the final part of our hike together with hundreds of eager hikers competing with time in order to catch the sunrise up there.

    The second part of the hike to the summit was tough – by normal person’s standard. It started off with a progressive hike in the dark passing by a lot of huge rocks, followed by flights of stairways and more rocks. Everyone wore beanie and headlamp and from far, we all look like those annoying minions from Despicable Me . After about 700m into the jungle, we finally reached the last 2 km before the summit which was the mother of all toughness. The difficulty level was beyond any scale you can think off.

    The first part of the 2km hike brought us to a cliff where we have to use our strength to pull ourselves up using the rope available. Though it was just a 250m stretch but when you have limited space to walk and next to you was basically nothing (!!!), you kind of freaked out a little.  After the rope climb, we reached the last check point where we have to register ourselves with the park ranger.  I was already in front of my fellow friends as our guide asked me not to wait and just to continue my journey while I have the stamina.

    From this point onwards, there were no more jungle terrain or stairways but granite rock surface. Stangers or not, each and everyone that walked that stretch encouraged and motivated each other to reach the summit. Every 10 steps felt like eternity, I have to sit down and take in deep breaths for the next 1.7km. At the break of dawn, the soft morning light started to paint the entire area and it was a sight to behold. The curve on the granite rock, the different peaks started to appear more visible in front of my eyes and as I look back, I saw nothing but scattered clouds floating from the distance all around.  

    For the first time, I walked above the clouds.