Friday, December 18, 2015

Papan Old Town, Ipoh 18 December 2015

Hotel: Cititel Express

One uncle who lived in Papan his entire life told us that there is an old Papan and a new Papan. When tin mining activities fell, many residents were moved to the new Papan.  However, there have been stories that the entire town vacated at an instant.  Something might have happened that was not reported.  There are still some houses which are occupied but we are not sure if they were only occupied in the day or the occupiers live there as well.

The one I'm showing now is the old Papan.  Story has it that Papan used to be a rich mining town until business start to decline during the Papan riot and Japanese occupation and the township was forced to move out thus the entire town is as good as dead.

The town is located near Pusing (布先) and Batu Gajah (华都牙也), 16km from Ipoh.  Near the entrance, there is a Kuan Yin temple and next to it is a huge cemetery.  In Papan, the dead is more than the living; no wonder some said that this is a Ghost town, and some houses are said to be haunted (included No.2).

We decided to start with Main Street.  I was half expecting the town to look really haunted and "broken down" but it didn't seems that way.  It looks serene and pretty.

We were told that this is the house where a lady in red hung herself.  Her spirit has since been seen wandering around in the night.  We decided to walk in to have a look (it's broad daylight, nothing to be afraid of).


As we walk in, we can see that the entire second floor was gone.  The staircase has also decayed till it is impossible to climb anymore.

This is the path next to the room where the lady hung herself.  We saw one  of our friends wandered deeper to the further end and tried to call out to her but she totally ignored us.  Another friend decided to go after her and tap her shoulder.  It was then that she responded.  She said that she didn't hear us (we were like10 steps behind not to hear).  Anyway, she told us that a lady was beckoning her to go over....thus she went to see. There was absolutely no one standing there.

This is the rope the said lady hung herself.  Surprise that the color is still so vibrant.  One would have thought that after so many years, the rope would have somehow discoloured.

Next to the house was a basketball court.  It is said that an old woman and 2 kids can be seen in the court.  

And next to the basketball court, is a lake.  The lake is extremely still.  Story has it that the old lady (seen at the basketball court) drown herself in the lake.  Not sure how true the stories are as I was not able to find any news articles on this.

As we left Main Street, we took a short drive to Istana Raja Billah.  This was where they filmed Anna and The King (yah, the show with Chow Yun Fatt as the King).  The entrance of the compound has a small staircase where we walked up.

This building didn't look like what I saw in the movie but I guess camera tricks made the compound bigger.

The doors were locked and we were not allowed to go in, so I peeped into a small hole in the window and took a picture.  Doesn't look very dilapidated though.  Seems like someone is still using the building.

This is the Kuan Yin Temple we saw at the entrance of Old Papan.  It was said that this Temple had already been around since Old Papan days.  Many who entered the town would pay respect at this temple before entering it.  Next to the temple is a hill full of tombstones which I didn't take any pictures.

Check out the video I did for this short walk!

More photos available here.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Labrador Park Singapore 18 Jul 2015

Labrador Park (also known as Fort Pasir Panjang during the colonial times) is one of the war relics that is still in existence today. It was built in the 19th century by the British to protect Singapore's waters (more specifically Keppel Harbour in this case). In 1864, a fort complex with concrete bunkers, underground tunnels and gun batteries were built and embedded on this coastal cliffside.  The structure was completed in 1878.  The Labrador battery was further upgraded in 1938 with the expectation that a war was coming.

On top of Batu Berlayar, one can still see the remains of the battery.  The above picture shows one of the watch towers (there are 2 towers) of the Labrador battery.  The place is not easily accessible as it is on top of a rather steep slope. However, after a little efforts, one can still get up.

The slope is right next to the larger structure of the Long Ya Men (龙牙门) or Dragon’s Teeth Gate.  The local Malays named the rocks as Batu Berlayar (“Sailing Rock”) while the British sailors called them Lot’s Wife, referring to the wife of Abraham’s nephew in the bible, who was turned into a statue of salt when she looked back at the destruction of sinful city Sodom.

Nonetheless, we took a night visit to the Labrador battery.  After a quick climb up the steep slope, we were greeted with No.1 Emplacement. The graffiti on the wall tells me that this place had already been visited by many adventure seekers who chose not only to leave their footprints but vandalism as well.

More graffiti seen at No.1 Emplacement.

Signs of wear and tear can be seen from the ceiling and pillars.  Even though the war has taken a toll on the structure, I still consider it strong as it has been standing quietly for the past 100 over years looking over the waters.

After some photo takings, we decided to proceed to No.2 Emplacement. The rusty door and window met us along the way. Peter Stubbs mentioned in his website that they could have been offices and stores. Upon reaching No.2 Emplacement, we saw the entrance to the No. 2 Magazine with a small window supposedly an Ammunition Hath.

As the stairs to No.2 Director Tower had been removed, we had to walk back to No.1 Emplacement to try and climb No.1 Director Tower.  The ladder stairs are rusty but still sturdy.  Thus, we managed to get up.  It was in the night so there really wasn't much view to see.

Saw a small structure from the tower. According to Peter Stubbs, this building is not part of the battery. However, it may have been the signal station.  There was no history found about the structure though.

The building looks like a typical dilapidated haunted house. But we didn't go up due to CCTV around. Yes, we are interested in our own history but not to the extend of getting caught trying to find out more.

Near the entrance of the AMTB battery, This looks like a store.  All shelves are labelled properly with white paint.

After a careful climb down the steep slope.  Yeah...I decided to partially slide down as I find that an easier option than climbing all the way down *grin*. Nonetheless, while on our way to the bus stop, we passed by what looks like a tunnel.  This "tunnel" is infact an Embrasure for a 6-Pounder Quick Firing Gun placed there at the end of 1800s and removed around 1900.  The inside of the rock was hollowed out to created room for the gun and ammunition storage. There were 2 section on the inside. One with a staircase that led to the surface. Another was probably the storage.  The entire place is already filled with rubble.

The British has built quite a number of machine gun pillboxes along the coastline.  Each is approximately 550m apart. This is one of the remaining ones.

The gate leading into the pillbox had been locked probably to prevent further vandalism.  The entire area had almost become a rubbish dump.

As a Singaporean, I would urge all fellow citizens and residents to preserve our historical relics so that we have something to show our next generation.

More photos available here.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Universal Studio Singapore 3 May 2015

Though this isn't the first time I have been to Universal Studios, this is the only time I remembered to take pictures *grin*.  What better ways to remember something than to blog about it and upload tons of photos on Facebook *bigger grin*.

Entrance fee is S$68 but we got it lower due to corporate purchase. The price excludes parking.

Upon arriving at RWS, you will be greeted with the iconic huge rotating globe and then you will see the entrance right next to it.

Oh by the way, lockers are available if you need to keep your luggage. It is not recommended to keep your child in the lockers to avoid suffocation.

It sure was crowded on the inside.  The streets were filled with people both locals and tourists.

Our first stop was to the Madagascar section.  Was too early for the shows and we weren't particular interested in any rides, so we proceeded on.

We then went to Far Far Away land. Had been to the Shrek 4D movies before but don't see why we shouldn't go again. If this is your first time, try to sit in the front blocks coz those are the chairs that moves....yah, you will feel the galloping, the water droplets from Shrek sneezing and all on top of the 3D effect. Pretty cool, I should say.  When we got out of the theatre, there was this gift shop that sells drinks in potion bottles. Kindda interesting!

Our next stop was the Lost World, which includes Jurassic Park and Water World. In Jurassic Park, there are some kiddy rides here for the not so young kids. At Dino-Soarin, kids can pilot their own Pteranodon!  And for those who love water rafting, do head over to the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. Don't worry about getting wet, there are dryers in the park for you to dry yourself. Just pay.

This is one really interesting show.  There are a lot of audience interaction before the proper show starts. And like any other get wet show, do choose the front few rows (blue colored seats) if you want to get really wet....or drenched. You might want to prepare a poncho too. The entire show will involve lots of fire works and water splashing and people falling into water. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

Further venturing led us to Ancient Egypt. I am so fascinated by everything in the gift shop.  From cute cushion to display items...they are so intricately produced.  By the way, Oakley's sunnies are also sold in the shop.  Do remember to take pictures with Army of Anubis who will be roaming around.

The only part of Sci-Fi city was perhaps the Transformer...or to be exact, Bumblebee! Alright, I'm not one of those ladies...they just happen to be there when I snap the pic *grin* and I thought they were sweet looking.  There are lots of exciting rides here if your heart could take it.

No idea where this is but looks like the backlane of New York.

After hanging around abit in New York, it was time for the street performances that marches through the entire street. I thought the Egypt one was really nice.  My other favourite will be the cute penguins.  Do not forget to check out the Lights, Camera, Action show where hurricane happens.  I like the part where the ship came crashing in.  Good effect!

Photos opportunity available as iconic figures moves around the street.
Fast & Furious cars exhibits!!

Oldies cars right next to Mel's drive in.

Ended the entire trip with a walk through Hollywood.  The Cruisers were performing various oldies so we stayed until they finish the entire performance and then slowly beat the traffic to walk out of USS. On the whole, it was quite a fulfilling trip.

More about Universal Studio Singapore here.

More photos available here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Korea (Jeju) 18 Mar 2015

Hotel: Jeju Oriental Hotel

The first day was really tiring especially when I didn't really have enough sleep.  And because we follow a tour group, our schedules are also super packed.

We had abalone porridge for breakfast.  When I first heard the tour guide mention that, I was quite excited. Then he added that we are not suppose to expect huge'll be bits and pieces -.-" Well, at least I really found bits of abalone.  And the taste is yummy.  The best part about Korean food is that all the condiments are free flow!  So those who know me will know the conspicuous amount of kimchi I take.  When we walked out of the restaurant, I cannot believe the sight! Do people here clear their mailboxes?

Our next destination is the Songan Sunrise Peak. I heard that this is one really beautiful peak and it's a must to climb up. If you walk along the path after getting the tickets, (veer left) you can actually see an area where the oyster woman are suppose to be harvesting oysters in good weather.  To  go up to the peak, head right. Sadly when we arrive, it was already raining.  Undeterred, I tried my best to walk up. Gave up halfway coz the wind was too strong for my umbrella and it tore my raincoat as well.  Hope to come back when the weather is better.

Next, we arrive at this chocolate shop that is right behind a small orange plantation. We were told that it wasn't the season so most oranges weren't fully grown yet.  As it was drizzling, the entire area was muddy.  So we went back inside to get the chocolates which I think only tourists would buy. Their famous products would be the orange chocolate series though they have other fruity flavoured chocolates as well.
After purchasing about over $100 worth of chocolates, we headed for Song-up folk village. Yup, this was the same village that Dae Jang Geum (大長今) was filmed. It looked like a huge place in the show but in actual fact is that this place is really tiny! It should not take anyone more than 10 mins to complete.  We were shown how water was collected from the rain by wrapping a rope on the tree that links into the water pots. The tourguide said that in those days, women in Jeju island work while the men stay at home.  The lady touring us in the area carried the water trout to show us how Jeju women in the past used to carry water.

There is one small house that according to the lady, is still inhabited.  We were not allowed to enter but we can take pictures from outside the house. The house smells of the aroma of freshly cooked rice.  We were told that someone is actually cooking.

After touring the small compound comes the main part of the program - promoting honey. It seems like there are many version of how real honey should be. For this version, the honey doesn't melt in water. One can see the hives when it's placed in water and swirled around. We were given different honey to try: Pure honey, lingzhi and 5 flavors. For some reasons, they also sell handcream made of horse oil.  It smells quite nice though. But I still have a whole box of lanolin cream at home so decided not to buy.  They are not cheap either.

For lunch, we had black pork meat. As usual, all condiments are refillable and our dear tourguide was going around the tables refilling our pork too. I haven't really gotten used to wrapping my meat in raw lettuce though.
Our next location is Hello Kitty Island.  This is probably the wonderland of 90% of the female population.  The place is not huge but if you are going to watch the 3D movie, you have to queue early coz they only have a certain number of 3D glasses.  We only have less than 1.5 hours in Hello Kitty Island thus wasn't able to watch the movie.
The toilet is cute!!  I so love the mirror and of course the cleanliness of the place.

Saw a lot of very cute exhibits in the museum.  I especially like the bedroom.  Wish it was mine. 
 There is a café on the second floor. The deco is all pink and white.  Didn't eat coz we were rushing for time and the snacks aren't really cheap. The gifts are expensive too. I can actually get them cheaper when I'm back in Singapore.
After a short tour, we departed the place and proceeded to the next in our itinerary.

Osulloc tea is known as one of the more famous and reliable brand in Jeju...most of the tea is expensive too. Thus, it is not uncommon for travel agencies to include the Osulloc green tea museum into its itinerary. A walk around the museum shows you a little background of tea in particular.  You can also be able to see tea cups from different countries on display.

I tried the green tea ice cream and it was yummy.  We were told that if we spend more than 30,000 won, we can get a tax refund at the airport.  So we really spent more than 30,000 won on tea :)

I wandered alone out of the tea museum and saw Innisfree!!!  They were conducting some soap making lesson when I walked in. The deco is very different from what I saw in the malls. And of course, I ended up buying stuffs....some facial masks that I wasn't able to find in Singapore.
The Glass Castle is the last places of interest on our itinerary.  Entrance fees is covered by the travel package as usual.  Due to the cold, the entire place looks really misty. From the map, it looks big so I was looking forward to a very long stroll in the park. This is my first time visiting glass exhibits so I don't really know what to expect.

Presented to us as we enter the place was items made from recycled glass.  They are glass pieces that you and I threw away that is turned into a great art pieces. As we walk further in, we see more and more amazingly crafted glass art pieces.

Saw a little path and I decided to walk in. It was quite a long walk considering the fact that we were rushing for time. So I had ran part of the trial. The glass hallabong oranges are really cute.

Saw more interesting and really pretty glass exhibits as we were walking out of the park.  On the whole, it was a very enriching and romantic visit.  Imagine everything in glass.....

For dinner, we had live seafood at one of the restaurants within walking distance from our hotel.  Infact, it's just right next to our hotel. There are many live seafood restaurants around so you will be spoilt for choice.
One of the more scary dish we had was the live abalone. I didn't know it was still wriggly in the plate when we ordered it.  Then all of a sudden, one of the shellies started to move. I didn't want to eat it at that instant. But the tourguide kept insisting that we had to try it and how tasty and juicy it is.
We gave in finally but not without it being cooked.  The tourguide reluctantly cooked it in the steamboat pot for us. Gosh! Can you hear it screaming for help...I felt so bad after that -.-"
More photos available here.