Life in Singapore

Night view from Marina Barrage

My first visit to Singapore was in 1996.  I couldn’t really remember anything except a bit of Sentosa.  Never have I found this place appealing nor had I ever thought about living here.  Nevertheless the opportunity of experiencing life in Singapore did excited us.

This is the place where I picked up my favorite sport tennis again, was keen on learning more about photography and Lightroom, dreamed to be become a travel writer, and got a taste of oil/acrylic painting.   Apparently I have no gift in any of these.   Yet search is privilege, found is luck and a lot of hard work.

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Monkeying around “Cat” city


On arrival the playful long-tailed macaque monkeys were already at the beach of Bako National Park welcoming us!  Er, no…they were indeed having crabs for breakfast.

Shortly before leaving Singapore, we spontaneously booked a flight to Kuching, East Malaysia without much planning.

Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, also known as “Cat” city from direct translation, has indeed nothing to do with cats but is a good base to make day trips to the national parks in the region.

There are altogether five national parks (Bako, Gunung Gading, Kubah, Tanjung Datu and Talang Satang), three national reserves (Wind Cave, Sama Jaya, Semenggoh), and two wildlife sanctuaries (Samunsam, Pulau Tukong).

We picked the most visited one, Bako National Park, because we wanted to see the Proboscis …

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The best soft ice-cream ever…


We took the train to Hotaka and after walking about 30 minutes, we reached the biggest wasabi farm – Daio – in Japan and tasted the best soft ice cream ever.  I had to take two.  It retains the refreshing taste of wasabi but no burning sensation at all.  I couldn’t find it again in the rest of the trip.  They even sold wasabi beer.

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A day walk from Ochial Juku to Tsumago Juku (Nakasendo)

The start of Ochiai no Ishidatami – a road paved with cobblestones

Starting from Edo (Tokyo) and ending in Kyoto via Kiso Valley, Nakasendo was one of the oldest roads made in Japan’s Edo Period.  The section we chose is about 10 km – a good day walk – and passes two well-preserved old towns Magome and Tsumago in Kisoji.

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Through the pilgrimage in Tsuyu


When I got to know that tsuyu, the rainy season in Japan, started on the 16th June this year, I felt similar to an anonymous writer’s thoughts on the Asahi Shimbun, “Getting wet at this time of the year is not a bad thing”, so long as it does not cause any serious damage or delay.

Rain is very important for country like Japan with so many rice fields.  Two days later we were on our way to Koyasan.  As accurate as ancient prediction, it did rain.  Except for the unpleasant damp, visiting those shrines and temples in the rain actually gives an extra mystical mood.  Describe this further.

Taking the train and later cable car from Kyoto, we arrived Koyasan at …

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Not on a boat, but still on the open sea


Experiencing life at Kelong in Palau Sibu, Malaysia

After about half an hour on the speedboat from jetty Tanjong Leman, Johor, Malaysia, a primitive yet picturesque village appeared in the middle of the sea, before my eyes.  Time for snapping photos.

This type of sea village is called a “Kelong”.  Kelong, a Malay word, is an offshore platform built by the fishermen primarily for fishing.  They can be found mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and The Philippines.  Fishermen and their families live here.

For the past 10-15 years the area of Palau Sibu has been overfished and I can hardly see any fishermen for mass-fishing around.  Kelong families transformed their places into “sea resorts” attracting mainly anglers.

The price for renting equipment is very reasonable. …

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New Zealand


When we were travelling in Norway a friend of mine said: “It looks so much like New Zealand.” NZ actually reminded me more of Denmark – the empty beaches, sea breeze, little villages. But there are volcanoes, geyser and crater lakes here. We met many nice Kiwis, the people, but no luck to see a single shy Kiwi, the bird, in nature. And I miss those tender and succulent lamb steaks – “well done” really means well done.

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Thailand – The South

Hat Laem Thong – the northern bay of Phi Phi

After spending a white christmas in Germany, we came back to Singapore, had a few days rest and headed to Thailand for new year’s eve. It’s our first time visiting this country except Bangkok. We planned to travel from Phuket up to Chiang Mai but 2.5 weeks was not enough for that. I hope to make another trip to Chiang Mai within this year.
Tips and highlights:
I will not forget the New Year’s eve at Kata beach. Lanterns and fireworks were right in front of me. It was pretty loud, though. We stayed at Kata Noi beach, one of the beaches at the very south of Phuket. But if you like partying, I would recommend you to stay at Patong beach cos it is packed with pubs, bars, hotels… like another Majorca.

Phuket town itself got …

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