Travel Thru’ The Lens: My Nature Adventures Thus Far

A lot of people thought that enjoying nature is not going to be a walk in the park. Sure in Singapore we have MacRitchie Reservoir, Sungei Buloh, Lorong Halus, Coney Island, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah Hill and of course our very own Botanical Gardens. Still, you know that this is just the tip of the ice berg when we have primary rainforest that is 130 million years old in and around this little red dot we called home. Then there are the majestic coastline in Indonesia and Eastern Side of Malaysia too.

The past few months I was invited to check out the eco-tourism in Malaysia and also did some trips to the Eastern coast of Johor Bahru. Thanks to the opportunity to work with Montigo Resorts Bali on their new resort, I was able to make a small trip to Nusa Penida (or Pulau Penida) to check out the most famous rock formation there too. So this post is to gather these trips and give an overview for the first half of the year.

Enjoy the Night Sky in Johor Bahru

The night sky with coconut trees.

There are a lot of night pollution in Singapore for you to truly understand the beauty of the night sky. So the best way is to get away from it all is to drive to the Eastern Coast of Malaysia to have an unobstructed view of the skies without the pesky city lights of both Johor Bahru and Singapore. I have seen beautiful night skies when I was doing my dives around Tioman and Redang and when you do visit the islands, do bring out your tripods and camera with ultra wide angle lens (at least f2.8). I will be doing something similar in East Malaysia in Sabah in September too at Mantanani Island.

Not exactly nature shoot but having a nice water body to shoot this is not easy to come by too.

Good morning

Glamping (Glamour Camping) in Johor at Canopy Tribe.

Instead of having an actual hotel or chalet, what you have is a big tent with mattress and you can sleep under the stars inside a small compound. Yes the food will be taken care of and there are toilet and shower facilities too. Nearby there is a ghost town, a small lake to explore with the Kota Tinggi waterfall about 5 minutes drive away. It is quite an interesting place to be honest but a bit perturbed that the light pollution here is quite bad due to a resort in the area too. A pity as the lake holds much potential to shoot milkyway.

Still, it is quite fun to be at Canopy Tribe when we light up the flying lanterns and have a bit of fun at the campfire. There are also treks around the campsite. The most interesting is to explore another waterfall next to the more famous one.

This is a moonless night but it is still so bright.
The flying lantern. Feels like Chiangmai.
Yes. There are a lot of birds around too as the Panti bird reserve is nearby.

Nature At Your Doorstep (Part 1)

The Stick Insect at night.

If you are someone who likes a bit of luxury while doing some trekking through the jungles of Malaysia then perhaps my post with Asia361.com in May of this year will give you a bit of heads up on where to go. Quite honestly Mutiara and Tanah Ainah resorts won’t come cheap but they are close enough for you to trek and night herping around the property and quickly get back to civilisation with air conditioning and hot showers. What I do like going to Taman Negara is the fact that the two major rivers in the area is just next to the resort and you do get to interact with the Orang Asli.

Having fun in the river
Traversing the river

I will be honest, it does feel a bit National Geographic in some ways (yes I understand the sacrifices the NG Photographers go through to get their shots). So if you are really into wildlife photography these are the places to go.

Many thanks to Tourism Malaysia extending their invite to bring me to these awesome places. More photos?

Nature At Your Doorstep (Part 2)

Black Browed Barbet having breakfast

I have never though that I would be going to another nature trail so soon thanks to an invite from Genting Highlands to check out their nature trails next to their hotels. Usually we associate Genting with gaming and family entertainment so it is heartening to see that efforts are done to open up the forests next to their hotels for people to enjoy. And in comparison to the resorts I have visited earlier in the year, Genting or more specifically Awana Hotel is a bit more affordable and much easier to access because of the myriad of bus services that ply the route from Singapore. With the migratory bird season upon us, perhaps it is time to plan a trip to the Important Bird Area at Awana too. Interested?

Frank having a rest
Herping (that means find frogs, lizards and snakes). Actually very fun!

You can read more about Genting nature trekking here or contact Treks.

Nusa Penida (East Coast)

Atuh Beach with Milkway during Moon’s Waxing Crescent.

Much has been said about Nusa Penida when it comes to Landscape photography. Top of the list will be Angel Billabong, Atuh Beach and Broken Beach. However on the Eastern side of the Island the three main attractions would be Giri Putri Cave Temple, Bukit Teletubbies and Atuh Beach. There is also Suwehan Beach which is tougher to reach because of the need to climb the cliff face via rock surfaces. Atuh on the other hand has cement steps for you to trek on.

Cave Temple / Goa Giri Putri
The view from Mola Mola Waroeng

I have actually timed the arrival at Atuh beach close to sunset so I can catch the milkyway when it rises up from the horizon with the moon in the western sky. Since the moon is at Waxing Crescent of the Moon Phase (when the moon starts to reflect sun light) so I have a bit of the moonlight to help lit up the foreground. The photo turns out to be very satisfactory.

At first I would thought I can enjoy a bit of beach time but it was low tide when I reached so basically it is rock sea bed to thread on. Not very comfortable. So if you want to enjoy the place, I suggest skip Suwehan beach totally and head straight to Atuh after the cave temple. Bukit Teletubbies? Hmmm….

Do read more in my Penida post and photos.

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