Thursday, January 23, 2014

Date with Butterflies

One thing that can keep me going even after being battered and bruised is nature and wildlife. The national park was about 1.5 hrs from the Georgetown area by bus. Though the journey was amazing; the trek left us tired. Moreover that day; it was noon and it didnt rain.

But the thought of not watching the butterflies was never acceptable. The farm is 2 kms away from the national park and frequent buses ensured we got to the farm at 4 pm with 1 hours left for the last entry.

The ticket is bit on the expensive side of 30 or 40 RM but worth it for sure. Why wouldnt you like to be surrounded by butterflies fluttering all over. I was sweaty after that long and tough day but that turned out to be a boon. I remember reading somewhere bees and flies swarm over you to drink your sweat. Thats what happened at Brunei's rainforest as well.

And so; I had the butterflies all over me; sitting on my hands; my face. Never going away even after attempting to shake them off. This living museum houses exotic butterflies; Malaysian species and some of the world's rarest and endangered. There are also tropical plants and other creatures like hude centipedes, frogs, spiders and snakes encases in glasses. Got to buy some cool souvenir in the form of pendants and keychains having real butterflies and insects.

Overall, it was a fitting end to an otherwise tiring day. Journey back to Georgetown was with sleep laden eyes and music while watching the sea coast of Batu Ferringhi pass by where the tourists had already started swarming into cafes for chill beers. One thing that was amazing was the transport and connectivity. One bus comes to the butterfly farm to transport passengers to the main bus stop 2 kms away. You dont have to worry about walking or trying to get bus! Loved Penang for that reason.

Paper kite of Rice Paper Butterfly. Its of SE Asian Origin

The rare Indian Leaf Butterfly. Also called Orange Orange Oakleaf; found in tropical Asia to Japan. Very attractive and colorful

As much as being colorful with attractive patterns; with wings closed; it resembles a dry leaf and its a spectacular camouflage. For this reason; its also called as Dead Leaf Butterfly

They were all over!

Leopard Lacewing; found from India to China; recent arrival in Malay peninsula

The Cruiser

Common Eggfly

A Indian Leaf pair

Name not known. I couldnt find it on internet. It sure must be a tropical species. Black and red head



The endangered Yellow Birdwing. Birdwings are native to Indian subcontinent, SE Asian archipelago and Austrlasia. This one particularly is endangered and now protected

Name not known.

Yellow Glassy Butterfly

This one is special. Rajah Brooke's Birdwing. Its from the rainforests of Thai Malaysian Peninsula, Borneo, small islands of Sumatra. Its a protected species and the national butterfly of Malaysia

New Lacewing; mainly found in SE Asia and Australia

Remember your Botany classes? This is a Nepenthes pitcher hanging from a tendril. They are carnivorous plants


Can someone identify this species?

The Black Bat flower; unique looking

A Green snake; not the vine snake though

Color Sergeant butterfly

A pair of Yellow Birdwings

There were more! 4000 individual butterflies of 120 kinds! All I click were some of these

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nature trail in Penang

What was different for me in this travel was the way I let the travel take me. I didnt have a checklist of landmarks to visit and places definitely must see. Though I was aware of what must not be missed; I was fine if I couldn't visit those places. The travel was more of exploration and trying to get to talk to locals. This, I admit was new to me. I mean; earlier I used to feel so sad if I missed one of the "must-see" tourist attractions. However; something changed in me the past few travels that I dont rush to see all and check-mark all on the list. Instead; talking for few minutes to a local on the street is more satisfactory.

The second day at Penang; we took a bus to Penang National Park to trek for few hours. The bus ride was amazing riding on the coast along Andaman Sea. The entry to the park is free; there are 2 trails and various spots. The trail that we took was 2 hour one which ends in a secluded and clean beach of Kerachut. The trek is easy for fit people; but for folks like me it was not easy but not hard as well. Walking through the tropical rain forests once again was rewarding.

Nothing between you and the nature - those trees and vines that so alive and in turn provides life to many others, the non stop calls of the cicadas and the crickets; the occasional trickle of water, the breeze and of course the sweat on your brow! Its unexplained feeling.

The entrance to the park

Destination 2 km away

The trek at times touched the sea

At places; the feet were twisted and turned

Tilt your head - up, up, up


Walk, climb, pant, rest, walk, climb, end here

The sea is Andaman sea. Pristine blue waters; infested with jelly fishes. The grains of sand were big

The boat takes you back to the national park entrance for 80 MYR. If you are tired and cant trek back; this is the best option

In season; turtles lay eggs here

Met few guys who started off a conversation once they knew we were from India. Nice guys! 


Houses I think

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pearl of the Orient

I am back! Yet again!! 4 weeks of absence was due to my travel activities and boy! I am glad to be back on this space. I havent done justice to myself in the past on few travel journals in the past. But this time I am gonna jot all of them down.

Well, the travel this time was to Malaysia and Indonesia. At KL LCCT; I didnt meet the janitor about whom I wrote in my latest post. It was very unfortunate. Anyway; I would remember him and his kind deed until death. So diving into my travel! I've always wanted to explore Indonesia and of course! the older towns and cities of Malaysia. So started with Malaysia and then continued to the lap of Indonesia.

The first stop was Penang in Malaysia. I've heard/read of Penang along with plantation and Indian migrant workers during the colonial era. It has always been my interest to visit places as these and study how the migrant workers have adopted their new home, whats happened to their lineage and how the descendants are now.

Penang offers a lot on these lines. The flight out of KL LCCT to Penang was an hour or so and the transport from airport to Georgetown was easy. Rapid Penang the public bus service is so efficient and frequent.  The old city of Georgetown is where the wealth is. From historic buildings to concentration of Malaysian Tamils; the city by itself is a UNESCO world heritage site. The quaint streets with colonial buildings on either side, nestled among them the old mosques and chinese and hindu temples, the lovely people from different ethnicity and culture is a treat to the eyes.

Never was a feeling of animosity or getting cheated; it was a breezy experience. Getting to see the town was easy riding a bicycle. At 10 RM per day; it was economical and the best way to roam around the town. Few things that was pleasantly surprising was the Tamil diaspora. Getting inside Little India seemed as if somewhere in Tamil Nadu. I did not want to go there again! Not because anything bad occurred but I wanted to feel being outside India not in India. The second thing that amazed me was how helpful and sweet people were. Always smiling, stopping by to redirect you and answer your queries. Penang in my view was the perfect start for the vacation.

Day 1 was just roaming around Georgetown and taking in the atmosphere and the scenes. It was marveling to see the architecture being preserved.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Magnificent townhouse which was the former residence of Chinese Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee. Its filled with thousands of antiques and collectibles and shows how the Kapitan lived then. Its hard not to miss the Scottish iron works, English tiles and Chinese carved wood panels

One of the many stained glass windows

Work on Mother of Pearl

Trying to click a selfie

A wedding photoshoot was in progress

The Clock tower

World War Memorial at the Esplande

The Esplande

The City Hall

Fort Cornwallis build by Sir Francis Light who made Penang as British East India Company colony

Enjoying the view from the fort

The Town Hall on the Esplande

I didnt get enough of the old world architecture

Street food - Appams, curry, Rice....

View of Komtar - 65 floor skyscraper the tallest in Penang from the hotel room

A Dargah parallel to Little India

This was just Day 1!! :-)