Category Archives: Malaysia

The Baby Rockstars of Mabul Island

This experience reminds me of what I love about travel…

Do you remember the first time you saw a photo of yourself?  Digital cameras are amazing but it’s something some people in the world will never experience. I’ll never forget my first such encounter with a group of kids on an island off the coast of Malaysian Borneo.

Wandering onto the end of the island where the locals lived, I stumbled upon some really interesting homes, and people, including this group of children. I crouched down to get to eye level and introduced myself to a few kids. I politely asked if I could take their picture, showing my SLR camera. Silence.

I scanned the group one by one, stopping at the shy boy on the far right. 1st Boy: “No!” I almost left at that point, but decided to be patient.

The Baby Rockstars of Mabul Island - Malaysian Borneo
The Baby Rockstars of Mabul Island – Malaysian Borneo

The middle one, a girl, just shook her head (4th photo down on this post). It was looking doubtful at this point. The third one just gave me a blank stare, so at that point I either wasn’t communicating, or wasn’t welcome. After the longest five seconds, I started to get up when the third boy nodded. It’s important to note that basic mannerisms are different in every country, so you always need to learn what they mean in that country, island, or village, or at least be aware that they don’t mean the same as in yours. In this case I didn’t know, but I ran with it.

Travel Trivia Challenge – how many world landmarks can you name from this photo?

Below is the view from my hotel room – or at least that’s the view I’d want.  You’ll notice that there’s a series of monuments, landmarks, and icons from countries around the world. How many can you name?

Let’s make it a travel contest to see who can come up with the most – the Travel Trivia Challenge. Try to name every world landmark you see. For each one you correctly identify, you get one point for the landmark name and one point for the city or country where it’s from. For example, if you can identify the Sydney Opera House in the front of the image, and know it’s from Sydney, Australia, you get two points.

world landmarks monument travel trivia game - Visit50.com
How many world landmarks can you name from this image?
How many world landmarks can you name from this image?

Click the image to see a larger version, then right-click it to save as your new desktop image.

Ask me if you need hints for naming any of the buildings, landmarks, or monuments.

Hint: I saw two of these landmarks in the first half of my recent Asia trip – I wrote about both experiences and posted the photos. Which ones?

At sunset, the monkeys take over

I just love this photo of a silhouetted macaque (monkey) on the dock of the island of Bako as the sun sets over the mountains in Borneo (Sarawak, Malaysia). It capped a wonderful day of wildlife photography.

At sunset, the monkeys take over. Bako National Park, Borneo, Malaysia

I’m always very critical of my work so I can improve. This isn’t a great technical photo (above) – the lighting and focus aren’t quite how I’d like them, but I just love it. Maybe you will too


Photos of these silhouetted macaque monkeys were from Malaysian Borneo, in the impressive Bako National Park.

Malaysia: Southeast Asia’s Next Great Foodie Destination

Budget Travel had a good article on Malaysia as Malaysia: Southeast Asia’s Next Great Foodie Destination.

Malaysian food mixes in so many cultures—Arabic, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and more—that you could never appreciate them all in one sitting. So bring your appetite.

For more on my experience: Eat your way around Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur edition

http://Visit50.com/eat-your-way-around-kl/

 

Photos: Impressive Borneo Sunsets

After a full day of hiking and wildlife photography, I paused to appreciate the impressive Malaysian Borneo sunset, which kept getting better each time I looked.

The Borneo sun sets over the Red Sky - gorgeous panoramic vista - Sunset in Bako National Park, Malaysia

The sunsets from the island in Bako National Park in Malaysian Borneo was one of my new favorite from the trip. It was even better than the ones I saw in Mabul, and on the same level as the stunning views from the Dead Sea (and from the Dead Sea highway just after visiting) and the desert of Wadi Rum (both in Jordan). My favorite photos of sunsets from my trip will be found at this sunsets link.

Wow. Gorgeous. Like many photos, it was even better in person. After a day of hiking and photographing wildlife, I had just put down my camera to relax, but this view got more impressive every 5min, starting with about this point. I wanna go back!

What a View! Borneo Sunset in Bako National Park, Malaysia
I could look at that view all day

Beautiful sky in Borneo Sunset in Bako National Park, Malaysia

Panoramic Vista in Borneo Sunset in Bako National Park, MalaysiaBorneo Sunset in Bako National Park, Malaysia


Rainforests, wildlife, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, & beaches in Borneo’s Bako

Hiking through Bako National Park turned out to be an unexpected highlight of my trip.  It’s a 10.5 square mile island with rainforests, secluded beaches with sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, jungle streams, and lots of wildlife (including about 150 of the aforementioned rare proboscis monkeys).

The coast line was beautiful – millions of years of erosion of the sandstone have created a coastline of steep cliffs with brilliant colored patterns formed by iron deposition.

Monkeys were everywhere – mostly Long-tailed macaques and silver leaf monkeys. And of course the highlight was seeing rare probiscos monkeys . We also saw lizards and bearded pigs.

 

Bako National Park also has nearly every type of vegetation found in Borneo (25 distinct types). In a couple of days of trekking through the jungle trails, you can see “Beach vegetation, Cliff vegetation, Kerangas or heath Forest, Mangrove Forest, Mixed Dipterocarp Forest, Padang or Grasslands Vegetation and Peat Swamp Forest,” according to the official site.

Consider this a sneak preview of the sunsets I saw in Borneo – the ones in the next few posts were even better!

Disagreeing with Nat Geo

Proboscis monkeys: “they’re graceful, they can swim, and they’re in trouble,” according to National Geographic. I agree with the latter two of those statements. They’re surprising good swimmers and deforestation is certainly endangering their species. But graceful??

After a few days of observing them in the wild, I respectfully disagree (at least with the few dozen that I saw at Bako National Park in Borneo / Malaysia).

This proboscis monkey (below) started to swing from one branch to another, not realizing it couldn’t support his weight and promptly dropped to the ground, bounced, and tried it again with the next branch. You’d think that years of evolution might help them in this area. They only have 10.5 square miles to explore, so I’d assume they’d get to know the terrain fairly well. Even worse, the larger proboscis monkey behind him followed his lead, with the same result.

[I’m going through the videos I shot and will post the live action demo then]