Posted in Thoughts, Youtube by Alvin on October 29, 2010

90’s, whiskies bucket, laser lights, and an united nation crowd in foreign land (June’10)

When thoughts and introspection backdates, realization of how time flies sinks in. no?

Now, be prospective.


Posted in Diary, Thoughts by Alvin on September 25, 2010

I fb-ed about me needing a new hobby last weekend and I did actually gave a serious thought about it. Some of the quirky responses I’ve gotten ranges from fishing to arranging flowers. lol

There’s something good about keeping a blog, to note and log those worth doing so. I spent Saturday afternoon rummaging the old archives, reliving retro thoughts, events and antics. It was amusing to read and realizes how impactful and perception changing these happenings could be. And photographs were the main catalyst to get all the reaction going. So much like the cliché saying how it conveys a thousand words. Mediocre proficiency, but I guess I am still in love with capturing what I feels worthy of that click on the shutter. That bulky machine of mine still sits in the sack after I got back from Bali.


I bet the historical city has a lot to offer.

Work is currently adjective-less. 🙂

When I Wasn’t Surfing

Posted in Photography, Travel by Alvin on September 13, 2010

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I caught the famous barong dance at Batu Bulan as the first stop, the day I ventured out of Kuta. It was a showcase of local myth and culture with flamboyantly exaggerated  apparel. A few kids cried at first glance.

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Clad in red sarong, I went to one of the few temples open for public visitation. The Hindu temple in Bali is one of its kind, with slight resemblance to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The rituals and religious procession looks interesting from the description board, I wish I could catch a live ceremony.

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I had lunch overlooking Mount Batur at Kintamani with the company of 2 gorgeous Brazilian who shared the same 4wd vehicle as me, going around Bali. Best meal in Bali! 😛

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I finally saw, smelt and almost drank kopi luwak, the proclaimed world’s most expensive coffee. The owner of the plantations was proud to say we speak the same language when her fellow countrymen in Jakarta were burning Jalur Gemilang and hurling feces at the Malaysian Embassy.

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I went to Tanah Lot for sunset. I found a  grassy spot towards the end of the sunset terrace, away from the crowd and annoying restaurant owner peddling drinks. It was a breezy evening accompanied by the sound of waves and picturesque silhouette of Tanah Lot temple against the orange hue.

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I stopped by the bomb memorial in the town of Kuta, just before grabbing a cup of coffee and leaving for the airport. The monument was erected on the site of the destroyed Paddy’s club on Legian St. as a memory of the deceased from the terrorist bombing in 2002.

When I wasn’t surfing, I saw a fair bit of Bali. I shall be back for more surf, adventure, underwater galore and babi guling!

Sun, Sea, Surf

Posted in Travel by Alvin on September 9, 2010

I flew to Bali a day after I got back from Taiwan. Things got even more intense than the travel itinerary when I almost missed the check-in time. I sprint towards the counter only to be told that there is a 45 minutes delay.

Bali airport wasn’t grandeur but security was tight. I headed straight to the backpackers den in Kuta right after clearing the checks and it took me 2 freaking hours to find a place with empty beds. Snoozed off just before midnight as the party street came alive with speaker box and rowdy crowd.

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Surf and beach wear store,  international coffee and ice cream chain.

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The coolest surfer around.

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I spent 4 out of 6 days in Bali surfing, gotten myself a second roast after the trip to Kenting, and certainly enjoyed the thrill of waves riding. Oh, and lots of clumsy fall too. 😛

Yet another solo trip logged.

Formosa Rendezvous

Posted in Photography, Travel by Alvin on September 4, 2010

I kicked off awesome August after dully July with a grad trip to Taiwan. 10 of us, 10 days of shopping, sun, sea, food and more food!

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Our nest in Taipei

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RaoHe night market

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On the way to break fast, day 02

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Xi Men Ding

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Rice vermicelli with pork intestine

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Kaohsiung city at night

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Formosa Boulevard

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Hostel at Kenting

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Kenting National Park

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Sun Moon Lake

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Sunset at Ita Thao, Sun Moon Lake

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Smelliest chou tou fu that we had

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Ching Jing Farm

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If only the sky was blue. Still, we had lots of fun 3000 meters above sea level

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Reflection of Taipei 101

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Bo Pi Liao street, Manka

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Dan Jiang Senior High School

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Dan Shui Sunset

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Shi Lin Night Market

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National Palace Museum

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Fong Da Coffee and little Taiwanese treats at Xi Men Ding

And the best of the whole trip:

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Great travel mates! =)

Halong Bay

Posted in Photography, Travel by Alvin on September 1, 2010

A backdated memo of a trip that was.

Halong Bay was one of the few last places I’ve been during the trip in June. It was an impromptu decision because my initial plan of a longer stay in Sapa foiled due unavailable accommodation.

A day trip started with a mini bus ride to Halong City, 170km away from Hanoi. The junk boat sailed off the pier at about 10am, cruising into the bay and the limestones archipelago.

and it wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be.

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The bay being labeled as one of the best of its kind, but I thought Langkawi geosites were better. No?

I stayed another day in Hanoi, before a long day of flying and waiting and flying. 3pm flight from Hanoi to HCMC, a 4 hours transit, then another flight from HCMC to Singapore which marked the end of trip.

Something I love about a getaway is that it sucked me away from reality, and in the midst of denial, physiological senses seemed to be at its best, absorbing essence of every nook and corner. Like what they say, ‘you are a snail, rucksack is your home, carry-n-go.’ 🙂

Posted in Diary by Alvin on August 27, 2010

I’ve just watch a skydiving video, on a blog I frequent.

Recalled the other day when PJ asked,  after all that I’ve tried, is skydiving next? From the video, the plunge looks pretty much the same like bungee. Free fall and speed, with the exception of 5000 feet above sea level. Now, you do the math. I am batophobic, and I am not going to skydive. But I have no resistance to the temptations of thrills. Oh wells…

I was quite sure of keeping a complete travelogue of my trip and it somehow got stuck in Vietnam and there’s more on Vietnam, Taiwan and Bali to go. Memory failing so lazy no more.

Holiday coming to an end and I miss school. 😦


Posted in Diary, Thoughts by Alvin on August 21, 2010

I left the airport at 10.50pm, wondering where and when’s the next trip. This departure concludes a sum of 45 days in foreign land, setting foot in 6 different countries.

Every trip and venture meant different sets of exposure. Those pleasant experiences and encounters are definitely memorable. But potholes, crappy hostel, scams, rip off, long tiring bus journey and inhospitable people of yesterday are equally unforgettable.

Holiday as it may seem, these rendezvous are what making all my backpack trip worthwhile.


Source: Meng Fai

and so it ends.

Sapa Adventures

Posted in Photography, Travel by Alvin on August 5, 2010

This tiny town is located up on the mountain, 9 hours train ride away from Hanoi, and an hour bus/van on the winding road. It was an ideal hideout from the humid weather, exploring ethnic mountainous life, forest and rice field terraces.

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I forgo luxury, clean boutique hotels and opted for homestay instead. We started trekking into the village at about 9 in the morning.

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A group of ethnic minorities followed us along the way

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The scenery is a combination of high green mountains, tiny huts and scattered rice field terraces where the local minorities make a living and stay.

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The locals speak decent amount of English and they learnt from scratch through conversing with foreign travelers. Despite them being rather pushy and demanding when it comes to hard selling their crafts, I find them quite capable.

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From handmade crafts, field work, to their determination and effort to earn a living. Poverty realistically forced every men and women, young and old to slog their lives out in the field, farm or the town of Sapa selling crafts and crops. Education is extravagant, and what we deemed norm, is their luxury.  Albeit harsh living conditions, they are all chirpy, happy and grateful.

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We had lunch at Lao Chai village and continued trekking to the next village, where I stayed for the night.

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My host is of Chinese descendant, hence the calligraphy in mandarin characters but they are unable to speak or comprehend the language.

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The only stove and fire. With such mediocre facilities, they whipped out a table of delicacies for dinner.

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Spring rolls, chicken, pork, sweet potatoes, buffaloes and no doubt, my best meal throughout the trip. The host then dished out a few plastic bottles filled with rice wine and started serving in shots glasses. The brew was strong, that we did not want to have a refill after a few shots. They insisted, reaffirmed us with ‘good wine, no hangover’. I think we had no less than 15 shots, with each going at 35%.

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Most were drunk and left before we could grab a picture with everyone present that day.

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We continue trekking the next day and surprisingly, no hangover. It rained the night before, causing the trek to be wet and muddy. Completed the trek with a broken sandal and soiled clothes.

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Sapa is truly a paradise with surreal scenery. This is truly the first countryside I’ve been with very basic living environment, paddy fields, water buffaloes, lush green forests, crystal clear river and abundant farm animals.

The culture, experience and landscape is what to me, luxury.

Xin Chào

Posted in Photography, Travel by Alvin on August 3, 2010

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I was stuck in this tiny space for 24 freaking hours. Boarded the inter-nation bus at 7pm and arrived 7+ pm in Hanoi the next day! My first time on a bunk bed bus and as usual, driver picked up random people along the way. So, even the aisle was filled with people. The trip was oh-kay, at least I arrived in a piece.

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Lao-Vietnam border

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Hanoi’s hustle bustle

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Hoan Kiem Lake

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St. Joseph Cathedral

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Best treat when the sun’s merciless at mid day


Source: Nagai Keita

My ice cream mates. Met them on Halong Bay junk boat and bumped into them again in the streets of Hanoi.

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Vietnamese coffee; strong, bitter, black and served at a portion insufficient to quench thirst, but more than enough to perk me up for the day

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I spent only a few days in Hanoi. I thought the streets and building were quite cool. Different trades nestled in different streets hence a cluster of the same trade on a single street. The buildings in the old quarters, are literally old, giving a nostalgic touch to the town. Motorbikes are abundant and it was quite an experience crossing the road with bikes swerving around you. 

Best thing about Hanoi: Free Bia Hoi (local brew) every night at the hostel I stayed! Out at the streets, this thirst quencher goes around 5000VND or less per pint.

That’s RM 1 for a glass of 3%. 😛