AN INSIGHT VIEW INTO THE WONDERS OF NATURE IN LANGKAWI

If you love the sunny weather, the powder-fine sand and swaying coconut trees along the numerous beaches, then Langkawi, an archipelago made up of 99 islands over the west coast of Malaysia, would be one of the picturesque vacation destinations worth your visit. Whether you are a shopper, an adventurer, a nature lover or even making the island as a getaway for some relaxation, Langkawi has all the exciting vacation opportunities to keep you coming back for more. Recently, a few of us, namely myself, David Lee, Hudson Lau, John Khor, Angelia Teoh, Kaye Khoo and Laici, managed to join in the Langkawi “Go Green Nature Tour” day trip program (RM350/pax) to explore further the nature side of the island.

After parking our car at the open car park next to Fort Cornwallis at a flat rate of RM7, we adjourned to the check-in entrance next to the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower along Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah by 7.30am. Have I told you before that no matter where I go, I tend to be a cat magnet? Here we met with Mrs. Cat. 😛 Upon having gathered our group members, we were directed to the Swettenham Pier to collect our tickets, ferry passes and “Nature Tour” stickers. We were then led to the berthing pier to meet our tour guide, Encik Jafri (017-435 3630). The ferry embarked for Langkawi at 8.15am sharp.

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It was indeed a wonderful sight upon departure as we could see the panoramic view of the northern part of Penang, with Kompleks Tunku Abdul Razak (KOMTAR) being the most prominent landmark in Penang. We also took the opportunity to climb up the upper deck of the ferry to shoot some photos, with Laici being our model for the day. 😛 Of course, there were also some tourists who were more than willing to let us capture their memorable moments. Although we did encounter a thunderstorm halfway through the journey, it did not spoil our spirit to look forward to the adventures lying ahead of us. The journey went on very smoothly and the scenery of the aftermath of the thunderstorm was something I would not forget for a long time.

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Since our ferry was a big one, we detoured to Pulau Payar about an hour and a half later to disperse some of the tourists onboard. I can still my most memorable experience here early this year. If you are keen into water related activities, this island which is also known as the “Rainforest of the Sea” would be a paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving.

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After leaving Pulau Payar for abour an hour or so, we finally saw land with traces of buildings scattering everywhere. Finally, we were to reach Langkawi. Upon berthing Langkawi’s Jetty Point, we took shots of the surroundings with a nice view of the Eagle Square (Dataran Lang). The Jetty Point is a prime commercial complex which is also a duty free shopping center and also the sea bound entry point to Langkawi. We then boarded into a van to start off our adventure.

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After 3 hours of traveling by sea, food was the first thing we had in our minds. The first place that we went to was Charlie’s Place, located within the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club for lunch. In fact, the restaurant was just within a walking distance from the Jetty Point. As it was inclusive in our tour package, set lunch was provided. Other than the soup (we had Tomato Soup), dessert and coffee/tea, we can opt for a main course such as Nasi Goreng Kerabu, Beef/Chicken Burger, Fish & Chips, Spaghetti Napolitana or Club Sandwich. Vegetarian and kid’s meal are also available upon request. The vicinity of this place did provide many unique sights for photography. I simply love the clear blue skies, the many yachts around and the calm turquoise sea here.

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With a satisfying meal to fill up our empty stomachs, we proceeded with our new adventures. About an hour of traveling later, the van finally brought us to the Langkawi Oriental Village, a contemporary village that has Asian architectural structures with a little touch of English and French designs. It lies within the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park, one of the world geopark status awarded and listed in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, at Burau Bay. The Langkawi Oriental Village, which also housed the GeoPark Hotel (604-959 2300), is actually a duty free shopping park and a gastronomic heaven with choices of food ranging from local, Thai to Japanese. It would take you about a 45 minutes’ drive from Jetty Point, a 25 minutes’ drive from Pantai Cenang and the Langkawi International Airport. The light cool breeze here with nice views from a nearby pond with hundreds of koi fishes swimming about and a classic red colored bridge across the pond, indeed was a magnificent site for capturing self portraits.

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With a short walk within the premises of the Langkawi Oriental Village, is the entrance to the Langkawi Cable Car. The cable car would take you through a 2.2km stretch up the hill of Mount Machinchang (700m above sea level), where you would have some breathtaking and magnificent views of the whole island. If the weather is bright and sunny, you could catch glimpses of the Langkawi International Airport, Pulau Burau, Pulau Rebak, Pulau Singa Besar, Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Tuba and many more. The ride up (vice versa) would take about 15 minutes with 360° viewing stations in between and at the peak. On the way up to the middle station, I could view clearly some deers in a reserve area as well as the Seven Wells Waterfall (Air Terjun Telaga Tujuh). Ticket would be at RM30 (adult) and RM20 (child) but MyKad holders would be eligible for some discounts at RM15 per pax. There would be certain days that the service would not be available due to maintenance or bad weather, so you better call up 604-959 4225 or check out their maintenance site to avoid any disappointments.

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At the peak of Mount Machinchang (Gunung Mat Cincang) lies the longest suspension bridge in the world – the Sky Bridge, a 125m curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge. You would need to hike down and up again through a steep stairways. It could be a breathless and painstaking experience for those who are not so physically fit. I would advise you to bring along some bottled water to quench your thirst and do rest in between to catch up some breath while admiring the flora and fauna along the way. Upon reaching my destination after a tiring walk downhill, I could see that the architecture and engineering of the structure were so amazing. Considerations were thoughtfully made to provide visitors with a psychological feeling of security with the secured cables, railings and wire meshed barricades along the sides. The views here were indeed spectacular. Along the horizon of the Andaman Sea, I could easily view southern Thailand’s Tarutao Island in the distance. The weather here was somewhat like Cameron Highland’s. The cool breeze did rejuvenate my fatigued body and mind after all. It could be real windy at times at this altitude, so do watch out for your cap, hat or skirts. You could either get your head gear “donated” to the greenery of the mountain (let’s hope it’s bio-degradable :P) or you could be the next Marilyn Monroe under the endless haunts of the paparazzi. LOL! Anyway, do take note of any warning alarm in case of any unpredictable oncoming thunderstorm and lightning.

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After the breathtaking moments up the mountain, we headed for more adventures at the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, another of the UNESCO recognized geoparks, approximately 13km away from Kuah Town. The nature park which spreads over 100 sq km in the northeastern part of Langkawi, featured magnificently formed landscape of limestone hills with pinnacles of various shapes and sizes. This was where we started out our Kilim River Expedition to explore Mother Nature’s formation of life that has long coexisted in these ecosystems for eons, namely the caves, wetland mangroves, flora and fauna, marine lives and the symbol of Langkawi – the eagles. Kaye can be seen here all set with his “bazooka” lens, waiting to capture the memorable eagle feeding shots. The whole package would cost as low as RM200/hour to RM450 for 4 hours with a minimum of 2 passengers to a maximum of 8 passengers. For more information, please contact the Langkawi Tourist Information Centre at 604-966 7789 or 604-955 7155.

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Departing from the Kilim Jetty, our first stop was to the Bat Caves (Gua Kelawar, named after its inhabitants, the Malaysian fruit bats) located about 400m away from the jetty, lurking within some green mangrove forests. Walking through a man-made pathway, we went into a totally dark cave with prominent signs of stalactites and stalagmites forming everywhere. I could also see many columns (tiang gua) being formed here when the stalactite and stalagmite connected with each other through thousand years of nature processes. I would advise you to bring along a handy torchlight just in case you are scared of the dark but no camera flashes would be allowed in here as it may scare off the hundreds of bats clinging precariously on the ceiling. One unique stalactite formation towards the eastern opening you have to take note of would be the bended stalactite (sometimes known as the oblique stalactite). Through some quirk of nature, they somehow took a slight turn from the perpendicular and formed towards the sunlight. This is believed to be associated with the deposition of travertine deposits by photosynthetic algae that required brighter sunlight to grow.

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As we moved along the pathway, we encountered a few underground chambers and ceiling chambers formed by water erosion through millions of years. There was also the fern-like Cycas clivicola (also known as the “Living Fossil”), that has existed over 200 million years, hanging at the cliff of the limestone formation. This hardy plant had even survived longer than the dinosaurs. It was an amazing experience to sight one here! The mangrove swamp over here was real captivating with signs of abundant plants springing out of the mud just everywhere. I could not even get my eyes off those orange clawed little fiddler crabs (Uca coarctata) crawling here and there on the mud banks. Surprisingly, I did not get any glimpse of any monitor lizards here. Maybe they are more abundant at the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, another recognized UNESCO geopark, which we did not have the time and opportunity to pay a visit. Luckily, I had seen them lazing abundantly along the white sandy beach of Pulau Dayang Bunting during one of my adventurous trips some years back. It was a rare sight then.

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We then moved on to out next destination along the Kilim River – the “Hole in the Wall” Fish Farm & Restaurant, the only floating restaurant in Langkawi. Since we were there only for a day trip, we did not get to savor the fresh seafood dishes available for lunch and dinner. Instead, we got a guided tour around the fish farm. There were many marine lives spotted here such as the giant-sized grouper, giant trevally (GT), barramundi, stingray, horse shoe crab (king crab), mangrove jack, snapper, batfish and many more. One of the main attractions of the day was the stingray feeding session. I have never seen such a close relationship between human and fish, where the stingray would let someone stroke on the head and hand fed. It was astonishing to see such actions! The other main attraction was the archerfish (ikan sumpit/spinnerfish) which is known to prey and accurately shoot down land based insects with water droplets from their specialized mouths as far as 3m away. They would also leap out of the water and grab the food with their mouths if the food were to be within reach. This was another interesting show for us.

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I wished I could have stayed a bit longer to play with the fishes but it was time for us to move on to our next destination – the Eagle Feeding site. Upon reaching, the whole site was already filled with boats with hundreds of eagles soaring up above the skies waiting for the boats to throw out some chicken skins for their feeds. Two of the dominating birds of prey included the White-bellied Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and the Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus), twice smaller sized than the former. Both have sharp eyes and can seek any prey on land or water 2km away. The latter, with contrasting white head, breast and brown wings derived Langkawi’s name. “Lang” which derived from the Malay word for eagle – helang and “kawi” literally meant batu kawi, a sort of brown marble found abundantly on the island. I have to admit that with “bazooka” lens, DSLR or compact cameras of any make, shooting the swift flying eagles was a difficult task for us. Most of us ended up with hundreds of photos just for this site and yet only a handful of shots were deem to be almost perfect. I guessed we’ll need the National Geographic team to be in next time with their expertise. 😛

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Well, it was time for us to end our nature tour and head back to Jetty Point to catch our ferry home. It was indeed a hectic trip and I wished we could have more time on the island to catch up with the rest of the interesting sites. Most of the time was spent just on traveling by sea and by road with little left for sightseeing. As a blogger, photography is something that we are all enthusiastic about and a tight schedule for any activity would not allow us to get the best out of any event. We have to forgo visiting the Eagle Square as per itinerary due to lack of time. Moreover, we were left with barely 15 minutes of shopping time to grab whatever little gifts we had in mind. I won’t blame the tour operator on this issue but would rather advise the ferry consortiums to have a more realistic departure time. Maybe, the last ferry could be extended to 6.00pm instead of the present 5.15pm? As for our tour package, we were given a snack meal and a bottled drink as dinner.

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As the journey home would take another 3 hours, we took the opportunity to fully utilize our time by shooting more photos of the sceneries out there. The sunset at the horizon overseeing the Andaman Sea was amazingly beautiful… so was our so-called model of the day~ Laici 😛 We berthed at the Swettenham Pier at 8.30pm and headed to the Tree Shade Restaurant along Weld Quay for our dinner. It was a fun-filled trip and we get to understand each other better now. 🙂

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For purchasing your ticket to Langkawi or Pulau Payar, please visit:
Langkawi Saga Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
16 Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Georgetown, 11200 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-899 8822
Fax: 604-890 6068
Email: sales@langkawicoral.com
Website: http://www.langkawicoral.com
GPS: 6.0654, 100.0433

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PENANG BLOGGERS MEET OUT AT GURNEY PLAZA – CSL SPICE MI700 DROIDPAD PREVIEW

Recently, about 20 bloggers from Penang and Kedah were invited to CSL’s Spice MI700 DroidPad preview at Gurney Plaza, Penang. As Android has been the next state-of-the-art gadget in the market other than the Apple’s 10” iPad, all of us were very eager to learn more on what interesting features this 7” newly launched tablet has.

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We were divided into two groups in order to get a more personalized preview and hands on experiences on the Spice MI700 DroidPad. This was followed by some feedback questionnaires by CSL and a quiz session to determine who has the most knowledge on the product. Eventually, all went home with some CSL souvenirs but one person was randomly selected to take home an extra item – a CSL Spice MI700 DroidPad worth RM1599. Well, two can change the life of a person. How true it was for our fellow blogger, Ms. Apple Tan (Mr. Steven Goh’s wife), who was pregnant at that time. That’s two, right? 😛 She emerged the lucky winner of the Android gadget with extra two black eyes on the existing two white eyes on the CSL mascot on the promotion brochure. Congrats Mrs. Goh! 🙂

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Now let’s us study more in depth into the Spice MI700 DroidPad, a 7” tablet that runs on Android 2.2 Froyo, the latest mobile open platform developed by Google. It enables you work, play, shoot photos/videos/webcam/chat or even track your location with its in built GPS tracking device. It also supports a regular sized SIM card and is capable of supporting quadband networks such as EDGE, GSM, UMTS and HSDPA. It also has a WLAN 802.11 b/g. Measures at merely 179.4mm H x 110mm W x 11.5mm T and weighs at roughly 410gms, the tablet came with a long lasting 3240 mAh Li-Polymer battery. It’s equipped with Bluetooth V2.1 + EDR support, front facing VGA camera and and a back facing 3MP autofocus camera, which if by connecting to a Bluetooth headset, you would be able to make voice calls or video conferences right at your tip with ease. The Spice MI700 DroidPad is powered by Qualcomm MSM7227/600 MHz chipset with ROM/RAM of 512MB respectively and would be able to support a microSD card up to 32GB. You can check out the full specification at the CSL website.

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I did a little time exploring more on the set but I would think I may need to spend more in the future to get accustomed to some of the features. Here are some of my feedbacks I can provide at the mean time.

1. The booting time is quite acceptable at almost less than a minute considering that not that many programs had been installed into the system yet.

2. The screen resolution is quite acceptable, provided you do not place the screen protector sticker, which eventually caused the colors to be slightly pale looking.

3. Scrolling, touching and swiping can be quite smooth with hardly any lagging although I did face some areas where my touches needed to have at least two inputs. I have no problems with the smartly spaced virtual keyboard.

4. As for games, it rocks all time. No lag at all so far.

5. Reading with its e-Book reader can be fun as the word size is just right for my vision. Page transition is without any haste too.

6. I have no problems viewing videos through YouTube or any other online video sites. I have yet to test out on the video player but I guessed I may have to download some players to test the system out soon.

7. I also do not have any problems checking out my emails as well as connecting to FaceBook or Google Talk. I have yet to test out on some of the FaceBook games.

8. Checking GPS reading from Google Maps was fine. I’ll check on the free one year MapKing GPS Navigation system once I get it activated soon.

9. With two speakers installed at both sides of the tablet, the sound of music through the music player is quite acceptable.

10. Browsing and switching websites is smooth flowing, except that I wonder why CSL missed out the feature of allowing FLASH related graphics to show up on the system. Hardware or software limitation?

11. The quality of photo shooting through its 3MP camera is quite acceptable, considering that you won’t really need such high quality photos to be posted online.

12. I have yet to test on the battery life but I guess all gadgets would not last more than a few hours if heavy usage.

13. The tablet’s pre-installed full version of Documents To Go is so cool. It allows you to read, create, edit, cut or paste Word, Excel, Powerpoint and PDF files so easily. I love this so much.

14. As for the pre-installed applications, I felt that some of them such as the Islamic features is not relevant to some of our needs. It would be best if it were to be placed in the Market for those who need to download them. It gets rather cluttered and messy with so many things on the screen. Well, that’s my personal opinion here.

15. Although the tablet might be convenient and light weight to carry around, the price is still too steep at RM1599 (~USD500). Even a NetBook is cheaper than the tablet easily. I personally felt that a price range of between RM1.1K and RM1.3K would be more attractive to capture the market share.

You can check out CSL Malaysia’s official website for more updates.

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PAINFUL ERUPTIONS ON MY FACE

BIGERUPTION

What would be that one thing that you would dread when you wake up in the morning? It would those pesky harden areas with red spots that would wish you, “Hey! We are here to make your coming days more miserable and painful.” I’m sure everyone would hate to welcome those uninvited guests, especially that huge and muscular Papa Acne.

For many centuries, people have been fighting acne problems. Some believed that acne popped up due to our greasy and spicy food consumption. This might be quite true but not necessary the right answer to your acne problems. Of course plugged pores on our bodies with excess overactive oil gland mixed with dead cell is to be blamed but the breakouts could sometimes be caused by other factors such as side effects for certain drug prescription, working environment or even frictions by materials on the certain areas of your body.

Luckily, we have the advancement in the world of research and development to ease this painful burden. Today, we have the best acne products on the market to help you win over this battle. Fighting off acne has been much easier than before.

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CNA TRAINING PROGRAM

NURSING

Do you often help those in need of assistance naturally? If this has been your experience and this is common in your nature, you might want to consider taking up nursing as a career. Our society needs people like you with the compassionate touch to lighten up the days of the many patients out there. How would you go about being educated in the nursing field? There are a variety of options but a good one that takes less time and is in high demand is education to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A training program specialized to educate CNAs for one, would surely ensure that you get the required training, experience and qualification to excel in the world of patient care.

Taking that first step in joining the nursing industry is not hard and by doing so, it can potentially and certainly change your future. Not only would you enjoy building up a healthier lifestyle and satisfying career among the people around you, you would also be rewarded handsomely with a pleasant remuneration. Wouldn’t that be a great career for you? What’s the hold up? Go join the cna training program as it’s so much more affordable than many of the educational programs available out there.

Even if you are not sure or have some financial problems, make the first move and have the determination to make the best out of your life. There are many financial aid and scholarship opportunities offered by hospitals and other medical facilities to get you started on your new found career. Who knows? You might be the next one in their hiring process to join their professional medical team.

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WASHING THOSE PROBLEMS AWAY

WASHFACE

I have seen many people asking about their acne problems, even those within their early thirties. Is there an age frame where the problem would be outgrown by itself? From my past experiences, there isn’t any fixed age as different bodies react differently. The more you worry about it, the worst those pesky spots would hit you as it was believed that stresses would trigger the problem to its worst condition. Just let the acne problem goes away as it should naturally.

By eliminating acne naturally does not mean that you just wait and have no actions at all. Some basic steps should be taken daily to speed up the recovery. The usage of harsh chemicals on the already sensitive areas should be the last thing you should have in your mind now. You should be looking at those natural ingredients that have soothing and rejuvenating effects.

There are many of such acne face wash products on the market which contained natural extracts as jojoba, green tea, aloe vera and so on that could help you eliminate your acne problems. You just need to have the commitment to cleanse your face as frequently as you would daily. After all, that’s not a hard task for anyone right?

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