Monday, January 27, 2020

HOME SWEET HOME - AFTER A SHORT GETAWAY TO BATAM ISLAND, INDONESIA


Safely arrived home after the short getaway to Batam Island, Indonesia during the Chinese New Year school break. The moral of the story: if you do not want to get stuck in a very long queue and crowded arrival hall while waiting for clearance at the immigration checkpoint, never ever go during the festive season. If you think the Chinese are celebrating the New Year at home, and visiting their relatives and friends, or playing mahjong, then you are wrong. VERY wrong.


I was lucky as this time I had another ex-student who decided to travel together, Mr. Mohamad Amin Samsudin.



There will be as usual photos and stories to publish and share in my blog. I will need more time to think when to start as I still have to finish up with the posts of recent my Myanmar trip.

As for now, I just pray I could wake up early tomorrow morning and start school after the 5-day holiday.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

BLOGGING FROM BATAM ISLAND, INDONESIA


The Chinese New Year school break was quite short and I was in desparation to go for a short getaway trip. Initially it seemed almost impossible until an ex-student of SMK Taman Universiti suggested we go the nearby Batam Island in Indonesia. The plan for the 3D2N stay was finally executed on 25th January 2020 when we set foot on the island. It was actually my second visit was like 11 years ago. Still, I am excited to be here again and for sure the island has gone through tremendous changes within a decade. All good things must come to an end, I am already packing up all the (food) stuff to bring back home tomorrow. It is just a short vacation to a place across the border, but I have enjoyed myself to the fullest during the break. Guess it is time to bid Batam farewell the second time, and there could be another trip here in the future with friends.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

BAGAN PAGODA HOPPING TRIP - HTILOMINLO GUPHAYA GYI


15th DECEMBER 2019 ~ This was one ancient Buddhist temple in Bagan. It was quite difficult to pronounce - Htilominlo Guphaya Ghi. The building was first erected in 1218 by a King who had three names.

I didn't know there was a continuation at the back





Renovation or preservation work was in progress, and yet it was still opened to visitors.












As usual, there were stalls selling all sorts of things.






There was an elderly woman of the long neck tribe at one of the stalls.





One special feature of the building: it was built using red bricks. Hopefully the structure would remain for many more years to come. You should read the interesting history of Htilominlo Guphaya Ghi HERE.


Friday, January 24, 2020

BAGAN PAGODA HOPPING TRIP - KYAT SIN THAR UMIN MONASTERY


15th DECEMBER 2019 ~ Near to Shwizegon Pagoda was this place names Kyan Sit Thar Umin, which was a monastery. This was the place where monks stayed to pray and meditate a long time ago. This building was not being used anymore for that purpose as it was not not safe.




The place was dimly lit by the sunlight from outside. The rooms and the passage ways were all small. There were iron beams which gave extra support to the structure of the building inside. There was this damp smell heavily hanging in the air which was not that pleasant. I was worried with the air quality as I had once had lung infection which I suspected happened after visiting a cave during one of my trips, but that was another story.



There were old paintings on the walls and we needed the assistance from the torchlight of the mobile phones to shine some lights to be able to see the fading drawing.








How people could stay here even for a short time is beyond my imagination.


It was such a big relief to be able to get outside with bright light and fresh air.








It was a small place so we just spent a short time to explore. I guess the monks now have better places to stay - at least a place that is equipped with electricity.

[MY MYANMAR TRIP MAIN PAGE]

Thursday, January 23, 2020

BAGAN PAGODA HOPPING TRIP - SHWEZIGON PAGODA



15th DECEMBER 2019 ~ After the market, Mr. Ye Ye, our local tourist guide, took us to the very first pagoda in Bagan - Shwezigon Pagoda. For one thing, we had visited too many pagodas in one day and I seriously could not remember a single thing about the distinct features of each pagoda Mr. Ye Ye had told me. I am hoping I could find the necessary details on the Internet.



Some interesting facts about Shwezigon Pagoda [from Wikipedia]:

  • The pagoda was first constructed during the reign of King Anawrahta [1044-77].
  • The pagoda was believed to house a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha.
  • It had been damaged many time by earthquakes and natural disasters. 30 000 copper plates were used in the most recent renovation work.























Even though the pagoda was actually very ancient, the preservation work had made it look not old at all.




As usual, there were stalls selling all the prayer items as well as souvenirs at the entrance of the pagoda.


The best feature of this holy building was the golden dome really looked spectacular under the bright morning sun.

[MY MYANMAR TRIP MAIN PAGE]

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

VISITING THE TRADITIONAL MORNING MARKET IN BAGAN


15th DECEMBER 2019 ~ Right after leaving the observation tower, we were taken straight to this market by our guide, Mr. Ye Ye. This should be a market not really meant for tourists. We were there a bit too early and we could see the vendors and traders were busy setting up their stalls and open air business spots.


I guess we were the only tourists in the market at that time. People were just too busy to notice us.























All the fish, fruits and vegetables looked really fresh - if only I could buy them to take home.













We did not buy anything the first time here as we had just arrived.


However, we made a return trip on the last day before leaving for Mandalay.



Definitely an interesting market in Bagan and one might need more time to see all the things available and to shop here.

[MY MYANMAR TRIP MAIN PAGE]