Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Date: 15 Dec 2009 - 20 Dec 2009
Location: Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Camera: Canon G10 + Canon Casing
Strobe: Fantasea Single Nano Strobe Set
Filter: NIL
Post editing: PS CS3

No. of dives: 12 [LOB]
Accessibility to dive sites: 6.0
Marine Animal Density: 8.4
Dive site terrain Quality: 9.2
Marine Animal Diversity: 8.8
Visibility: 8.0
Overall Score: 8.1

Entry: Boat
Difficulty: Experienced AOW divers
Dive Sites: Drift/Walls/Fringing reefs/Pinnacles/Muck

My reason to go there
Komodo is like the lost world to me, I wanted to see the underwater habitat of Komodo, they must be rich.

- Komodo is beautiful both above and below. Surface intervals is equally interesting as the bottom time. 
- I’m really glad to see >12 Manta rays in a dive, sometimes circling in groups, sometimes howering in a roll againts the current.
- Chasing dolphins !! 
> Video 1: http://danlow.multiply.com/video/item/86
> Video 2: http://danlow.multiply.com/video/item/85
- Komodo Dragons are huge! But not as ferocious as I once thought.
- Traveling to Komodo and back to Penang was pheuuuu.... tiring.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Gunung Mulu 2,377m

Date: 21 Oct 2009 - 26 Oct 2009
Altitude: 2,377mm ASL
Difficulty: 7.2/10 (http://danlow.multiply.com/journal/item/50)
Location: Mulu National Park, Sarawak
Camera: Canon G10
Filter: NIL
Post editing: PS CS3
Dan, Uncle Yong, Lucy, KenTat, CY, Pek Chin, Khai Chern and Ah Du

My reason to go there: 
To hike Gunung Mulu, which is one of the G12 mountains of Malaysia, since Mulu caves are also in the same national park, we took a day to visit them all.

Gunung Mulu is beautiful, lots of beautiful floras. Happy to see Nepenthes lowii again. The wild durian was good. Really glad to see so many types of Nepenthes. The weather was pretty good in fact... 


Mulu Caves

Spectacular bats exodus - everyday at dusk, for 1 hour, 3 million bats exits Deer cave to the jungle to forage for food
sit back and relax, wait for the bats to exit from Deer cave

Date: 21 Oct 2009 - 26 Oct 2009
Location: Mulu National Park, Sarawak
Camera: Canon G10
Filter: NIL
Post editing: PS CS3
MembersDan, Uncle Yong, Lucy, KenTat, CY, Pek Chin, Khai Chern and Ah Du

My reason to go there: 
To hike Gunung Mulu, which is one of the G12 mountains of Malaysia, since Mulu caves are also in the same national park, we took a day to visit them all.

Mulu caves are absolutely beautiful, no wonder they are listed under UNESCO Heritage site

Places of interest: 
Deer cave - Awesome, large and bold
Langs cave - Small and intimate, with walls beautifully decorated with long shawls, layers of rim stone pools on the floor, and throughout the cave, spectacular stalagmites and stalactites
Clear Water cave - Has a subterranean river creates which creates a crystal-clear pool that gives it its name, a good place for a cool refreshing swim
Wind cave - Has majestic columns and stalagmites in the King’s Chamber, one of the most beautiful cave here
Bat Observatory - Watch 3 million bats leave the cave between 5.30 pm and 6.30 pm daily


Clearwater Cave, Endemic single leaf plants grow here

another species of single leaf plants on the floor ClearWater cave

outside of ClearWater cave

Lang cave, Abraham Lincoln's profile

Lang cave

Lang cave

Wind cave

Wind cave

There are creepy crawlies in the caves ... :)

Wind cave

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Southern Thailand #2

Date: 20 Oct 09 until 26 Oct 09 [6D/6N]
Route: Kayu Hitam - HadYai – Surat Thani – Don Sak – Koh Phangan – Koh Tao – Don Sak – Nai Plao – Kayu Hitam 
Camera: Canon Powershot G10
My reason to go there: Just follow the group there since I’m free and have never been there.

From 20 Oct 09 until 26 Oct 09 [6D/6N], we drove from my home(Butterworth) to Koh Tao and places around there and than back home…
I have never been to Koh Tao or Koh Phangan or Koh Samui before this… all I know about Koh Samui was it is a place like Phuket, so Samui .. out of my list.
Koh Phangan is pretty and famous for its fullmoon party, alrite can take a look
Koh Tao is all for diving, but diving quality there is so so, only good for new divers, alrite no harm to take a look…

With two 4x4 automobile, a CRV belonging to KL Tan and a X-Trail belonging to Kah Fai, 8 of us took the road up north on 20 Oct 09, 6:00pm. it was a Tuesday, I had to rush home rite after work to meet up with the rest of the gang. Everyone was on time, we headed north and reached Bukit Kayu Hitam around, errr 9:00pm I think. To get into Thailand, we had to pay bribe the tugs/samseng who now controls all entry/departure cards and the immigration officer who verifies our passport, both asked for RM2 or 20bath. Ridiculous! What the hell… anyway we got thru smooth.
Reach Haadyai around 10:00pm, get into this hotel I think called New World, for 500bath per night, I think so … had supper near Lee Garden area. Haadyai was unusually quiet, not like the Haadyai I knew many years ago. I think Air Asia and those Muslim extremist contributed to the situation now.
Day 2, we woke up early, had breakfast at Haadyai and headed directly for Surat Thani, had lunch there, roasted pork and chicken rice, fantastic!
After lunch, it was another 40 minutes drive to the pier (Don Sak), got our tickets, parked our cars and boarded the ferry, no problem.
It was a 2-3 hours ferry ride, the ferry is huge and open air, so it was pretty good, I slept most of the way. Around 2-3pm, we where there at Phangan, got a van driver, got us to the other side of the island, stopped by several resorts and found the one that suite us best. The rest of the evening was in the resort, dinner, pool, beach etc etc…
Day 3, morning at Phangan, I went snorkeling, it was very good, I enjoyed my 1-2 hours out there. While the rest of the gang went out of the resort in search of a lake, some lake. 
Then just before lunch we checked out and headed to the pier again, had lunch near there and boarded the next ferry to Koh Tao. Reached Koh Tao hours later, walking along Sairee beach in search of a hotel, took us quite sometime. Then finally found one very nice one, clean room with a dive operator attached. We asked about the dive packages later, it was 160baht with equipment for 2 morning boat dives. And another 160baht with equipment for 2 afternoon boat dives. So we signed up for 2 morning dives, coz they were heading for Chumpon Pinnacle, which is supposed to be a very nice dive site with high sightings of Whale sharks. But the second dive site was White rock, heard that it is just a so so dive site. The evening was a relaxing one strolling the streets of Koh Tao on rented motorbikes.
Day 4, time to dive, 1st dive site Chumpon Pinnacle. Verdict: it was just below average. I hardly even see the most common fish like a puffer or lion. 2nd dive site White Rock. Verdict: even worst, there were some Yellow tail barracuda, and that was about it. Because of that, we have decided not to dive in the afternoon. I took my rented bike and wondered all over Koh Tao alone until 6:00pm that afternoon, not bad, lots to see. Dinner was along Sairee beach again, the food were good as usual.
Day 5, had breakfast and headed to the pier, boarded a ferry back to Don Sak(Surat Thani), but this ferry had to stop by Phangan and we had to be transferred to another ferry there. When we got to Don Sak, it was the wrong pier. We were stranded; there were no public transport there. Then we found a nice Thai guy with a pick-up truck, he offered to transfer all 8 of us to the other pier, he would not take any $, but we made him take 200baht in the end. From Don Sak, we drove to Khanom, had our late lunch there at an open market place, the food was really good there. After that we drove further south to Nai Plao beach, found a resort there with nice palm trees, and beach, just for 600baht / night / 2 beds. Had a nice swim at the beach there, met a group of Malaysians, they are from a group called LROM(Land rover club Malaysia), there were there for a holiday like us. At night we drove out to the town of Sichon, found a place with excellent song-tham salad, krap-pow, pad-thai, etc..
Day 6, We left Nai Plao, drove south toward Songkla, stopped by Thale Noi lake, which is the largest natural lake in Thailand, took some pictures and left. We stopped by several petrol stations for breaks, 7x11 sausage hunting and toilets. :P ….. bla bla bla, we got home around 10pm that night.


Saturday, 29 August 2009

Gunung Tok Nenek 1,916m

Date: 29 Aug 2009 - 31 Aug 2009 [3D/2N]
Location: Gunung Tok Nenek@Table & Chair, from Pos Brooks, Cameron Highlands
Altitude: 1,916m ASL
Difficulty: 6.3/10 (http://danlow.multiply.com/journal/item/50)
Camera: Canon Powershot G10
Organizer: Lucy
Members: , Khai Chern, Lucy, Dan, Pek Chin, CY, Hooi and uncle Yong
Guide: 1 Orang Asli
My reason to go there: Never thought of going there before actually. But the Gunung Mulu + Tambuyukon hiking trip members wanna meet up, as some of them are from KL. However we failed to meet up with the other 3 members from KL, as their car broke down along the way. So the original 10 man team was down to 7.
Glad to bump into Evie and V at Gunung Tok Nenek, the hiking circle is small..

.... from the summit of Gunung Tok Nenek we could actually see all of the Malaysian peninsular G7, from Gunung Tahan, Korbu, Gayong, YB, Ulu Sepat, Chamah, YY…. To other less known mountains like Bubu, Junction, Brinchang, Irau, Tangga, Swettenham ….. There is a possibility of seeing Benum & Batu Puteh too, but I wasn’t sure which one at that time…. It was absolutely spectacular up there, especially meaningful if you know all the neighbors surrounding it.
Day 1
10:00 AM 4WD pick up from Pos Brooke
10:45 AM 4WD reach Pos Renggil
11:00 AM 700m Start hike not far after Pos Renggil
1:30 PM 800m Lunch break by river
5:30 PM 1080m Reach 1st night campsite
5:45 PM Pitch tent/flysheet
6:15 PM Bath by the river
6:30 PM Prepare dinner
7:45 PM Dinner
9:30 PM Tong sui/coffee/chit-chat time
11:00 PM zzzZZZZ

Day 2
8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Break tent/fly and ready for hike
10:15 AM 1080m Start ascending
12:30 PM Lunch break in the jungle
1:00 PM 1360m Reach 2nd last water point 
1:10 PM 1380m Reach last water point and break for 10 minutes
2:55 PM 1800m Reach 2nd night campsite by the huge rock
3:20 PM 1916m Reach the summit of Table and Chair and break for photos taking and enjoy the view
4:50 PM Descend back to 2nd night campsite 
5:00 PM 1800m Reach 2nd night campsite by the huge rock
5:30 PM Pitch tent and fly near the rock
6:30 PM Prepare dinner
7:30 PM Dinner time
8:30 PM Coffee, tong sui time and chit-chat
10:00 PM zzzzZZZZZ

Day 3
6:50 AM 1800m Wake up and hike to summit for sunrise
7:05 AM 1916m Reach summit for sunrise
7:55 AM 1800m Descend back to campsite
8:10 AM Break fly, prepare to descend and prepare for coffee
9:30 AM 1800m Start to desend from campsite
10:30 AM 1380m Reach LWP and cook/have breakfast
11:30 PM 1380m Continue to descend
1:18 PM 1080m Reach 1st campsite
4:30 PM 700m Reach starting point of hike near to Pos Renggil, 4WD already waiting there to take us to Pos Brooke
5:15 PM Reach Pos Brooke School and bathe at Asli's house
6:30 PM Dinner at the restaurant next to Guan Di Temple
8:00 PM Leave for home 
yepp .. that's the summit of Tok Nenek A.K.A. Table and Chair

Rewards of this trip 
- Good and clear sky
- Superb view from the summit of Gunung Tok Nenek
- Relatively easy hiking trail
- Met lots of hiking friends
- No leeches (or very few)

Challenges of this trip 
- A lot of sandflies at 1st campsite
- There is a vertical climb 30 mins from the summit, it is quite dangerous over there..
- Orang Asli at Pos Brooks are $ face, and will try to potong everyone, beware!
- hmmmm that's all I guess, everything else was good...
our orang Asli guide sharpening his machete 

- 4WD Fee: RM150.00
- Entrance fee: 2 x RM15.00 (volunteer amount paid to the Asli to take care of our cars)
- Camp site fee: NIL
- Guide fee: 3 days x RM100.00
- Food: RM270 
- Porters: NIL
beautiful bunch of wild Zingiber spectabile or Beehive Ginger flower

- Day 1 – 30 minutes 4x4 , 6 hours flat hike to 1st campsite by the river
- Day 2 – 4.5 hours hike up to 2nd campsite, 15 minutes to summit from there, 15 minutes back
- Day 3 - 15 minutes to summit, 15 minutes back, 7 hours descend to starting point, 30 minutes 4x4 
- The campsite near summit is not very spacious, 1 fly + 2 small tent is the max
- Kem Kambing near to the summit may be able to fit 8 people
- Guides + porters can be hired from Pos Brooks at RM100/day
- We can see all G7 mountains from the summit


Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Date: 28 Apr 09 – 5 May 09 [8D/7N], this includes Sapa+Hanoi Vietnam as well
Location: YuanYang, Yunnan China
Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Lens 1: Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC
Lens 2: Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX 12-24mm f/4
Filter: NIL
Post editing: PS CS3
Members: Dan, Si Fong, Thomas and Sam
My reason to go there: Seen some really nice pictures of YuanYang, it is still relatively unknown to the major tourist crowd.

The town of Old Yuanyang is a Hani minority settlement atop a ridge of the Ailao mountain range at an elevation of around 1570 metres. It is a popular destination with photographers due to the vast areas of nearby mountains which have been cultivated into terraced rice paddies for at least the past 1300 years by the Hani people. Despite the overwhelming scenic beauty of its landscape and colorful local minorities, mass tourism hasn't developed in this region as yet, mainly due to its remote location, lack of a nearby airport, and until fairly recent, relative inaccessibility due to bad road conditions.

The terraced areas of interest to visitors are mainly found between 1000 and 2000 metres above sea level. The winter temperatures here, although never freezing, are such that they only support one rice crop a year. After the harvest, from mid-September till mid-November depending on the elevation, the terraces are filled with water until April, when planting begins.


The vast majority of the ethnic minority women in Yuanyang county still wear traditional clothes as their daily attire. The main ethnic group is the Hani who share the region with several other minorities such as the Yi and Miao. Market days in the villages tend to be very colourful when the different minority groups in the vicinity, each in their own traditional costume, come together to trade and socialize.

In 2008, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of the People's Republic of China submitted the Honghe Hani Terraced Fields for World Heritage Site status. A quote from the justification: “Hani people have created fantastic and perfect land art of vast terraced fields in the heritage site. Integrating the terraced fields into the unique landform, forests and plant covers, valleys and streams and other natural landscapes they have developed a unique masterpiece of ethnic art which has organically fused the ethnical art, landscape art and agricultural techniques.”

The Hani and Yi, the creators of the monumental rice terraced mountains which have made Yuanyang famous, are the original inhabitants of these regions. Both their languages belong to the Tibeto-Burman group. Their villages can mainly be found between 1300 to 1600 metres above sea level.

The Dai moved here 700 years ago. The Zhuang 400 years ago. Both their languages belong to the Kradai language group. Their villages are situated in the warmer areas below 700 metres elevation, near and along the rivers. Their main crop is rice grow in paddy fields.

The Miao and Yao (of the Hmong-Mien language group) are fairly recent arrivals to the region, only settling here 200 and 270 years ago. Their villages are in the cooler and drier upland areas, between 1600 and 1800 metres above sea level, where they grow maize