Sunday, July 26, 2015

Creepy Crawlies in Cameron Highlands' Butterfly Farm (Malaysia)

Butterfly Garden. Seems too benign, right? I have never enjoyed any Butterfly Garden until my visit at Cameron Highlands' Butterfly Farm, 3 kilometers north of Brinchang. They weren't limited to butterflies, but display other creepy crawlies as well: the leaf insect, the stick insect, spiders, scorpions, beetles, etc. With a minimum fee of 5 RM (PhP70/$1.50), you can enjoy all these amazing, unique, terrifying insects. A tour guide would show you around the place, point the ones that needed emphasis, and even take them to crawl on your hand. The photo above is of a giant stick insect, overgrown and plump. Hmmm. Very extra terrestrial.

Cameron Highlands is located in Pahang, West Malaysia. It is 200 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur with a population of 43,000 people. As a hill station, it functions as a holiday destination (though there's not much party scene if you're into that); coffee and tea plantations; a fruit haven, hiking trails, a waterfall and a food destination as well. Cameron has 7 settlements: Kampong Raja, Taman Tringkap, Kea Farm, Brinchang, Ringlet, Bartam Valley, and the town center called Tanah Rata where most holiday makers stay. I did because that's where the the bus terminal is located. There's a post office, ATM machines, tourist center, hotels, parks and rows of restaurants.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shipyards of Burigangga River in Old Dhaka (Bangladesh)

In Old Dhaka, even the riverway is congested. There are 35 shipyards based in Keraniganj area alone by the side of the Buriganga River. They are part of the approximately 100 shipyards throughout the Buriganga Coast. Meanwhile, 15,000 workers are being employed for this trade. I'd say this is a very conservative number. Further on, if you're just cruising the river, you wouldn't notice this ship congestion.

When I visited the Pink Palace, I had to hop through three ships just to get off the river and on to the palace. There was no adequate space for my boat to dock at. Imagine the riverways in, say 10 years?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wildlife Traffic in Phnom Penh

Out of the way, civilization!

I was on my way to a temple on a hill, Wat Phnom, riding my moto (tuktuk) when I chanced upon an elephant walking along Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh's major riverside boulevard, running along the confluence of Mekong and the Tonle Sap Rivers. The 3 kilometer tourist strip is filled with hotels and cafes, a pleasant "tourist trap". The promenade has changed a lot in the last 5 years or so. It's a great place to watch people and spend a few cambodian riel for street food which includes fruits, corn on a cob, chestnuts, etc.

If an elephant "strolled" through Roxas Boulevard, Manila's riverside road, traffic would literally stop, wouldn't it?

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Moral Stand, Genghis Khan and the Death of 40 Million (Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia)

Mongolia celebrates the life and times of their national hero at any chance they get. Airports, food and beverages, hotels, grocery stores, travel agencies, even art works are named or dedicated after him. But Genghis Khan, conqueror of nations, is attributed the massacre of 1,748,000 people - all in a single hour! In one biography, the leader of the Mongol Empire was said to be responsible for the death of 40 million people.

Meanwhile, at the Museum of Natural History, located beside Sukhbaatar, in the capital of Ulaan Baatar, you'll find this moralistic stand against the death penalty - on display at the museum's entrance. You can't miss it. While I understand that times have indeed changed since Khan's reign of terror, the stark contrast between the national hero's conquest and modern Mongolia's stand against the death penalty is all too obvious.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Animated Fun at the Rose Centre in Cameron Highlands (Malaysia)

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. Right.

But it isn't all roses at Cameron Highlands' Rose Centre. There's more. If you love flowers, you're get more than your fix here. What's more, there are animated statues fit for Disneyland, playful tunnels (photo above), and even Snow White and her seven dwarves. Children will have a blast. Romancing couple would get their vibe. Budding photo enthusiasts would have a field day. It's a complete leisure resort (sans a swimming pool - but who goes swimming in chilly Cameron?) set on a hilly slope.

Located at Kea Farm, 3.5 kilometers away from Brinchang, Rose Centre provides a very cheap excursion in the highlands, with an entrance fee of just 5 RM ($1.50/PhP176). If you've a touring vehicle, this is usually part of a tour itinerary. If not, go suggest it.

Cameron Highlands is located in Pahang, West Malaysia. It's about 200 kilometers from KL.

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