Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Teluk Intan Leaning Tower

On the way back from Pangkor Island on 12 December 2013, we stopped at Teluk Intan. Teluk Intan formerly known as Telok Anson,it is a town located in the state of Perak. It is the largest town in Hilir Perak district. The leaning tower which located at the town center is a famous landmark of Teluk Intan.

According to the information board in front of the tower, it stated that Teluk Intan Leaning Tower built in 1885 by contractor Leong Choon Chong. Originally housed the water tank that supply water to the town area and reserve during drought and fire. It was also used to report time and served as beacon to guide ship into Telok Anson Port. The tower drew comparison with the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Standing at only 25 meters with 110 steps, it is not as tall compared to Leaning Tower of Pisa which stand at 55 meters. The tower have a 'pagoda' shape design. Although it look like an eight-storey tower, the circular brick structure is actually three-storey high. The structure is made of wood and brick. The base of the tower is 13 meters in diameter against 8.2 meters in diameter at the top. Now, the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan serve as a clock tower. The chiming clock which was installed in 1894 was bought from London and designed by J.W. Benson-Ludgathy.

Once we entered the entrance, we saw a Malay guy sitting at a counter on our left hand side. Initially, we thought we have to pay for tickets. Finally, the guy told us that it is free admission. One of us only needed to register name and address in the record book. We had a chat with the guy and we knew his name,Hisham Sahak. He is a staff of Teluk Intan Municipal Council who takes care of the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan. He showed us a piece of  paper which reported the interview between Hisham Sahak and a reporter from a local press. I read it and took a photo. From the paper,  we know the history about the tower,  factors of tilting and the mechanism of the clock. One thing that I was so interested in it is that the mechanism of this chiming clock is not self-winding, there is a need for manual winding once a week in order to maintain the normal function of the clock. Therefor, the clock tower's caretaker Hisham Sahak would wind up the clock's mechanism every Wednesday. Another information that I got from the paper is that this leaning tower slants to the northwest.

Many theories abound about it tilting. Some locals said it started to tilt four years after completion due to an underground stream. Anyway, according to Hisham Sahak one of the factors that caused the tilting of the tower was the weight of the water tank.

View of Teluk Intan Leaning Tower

The Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan is decorated with blue, orange, purple and green lights that gradually change colour at intervals. It looks majestic at night. Thus, the locals and visitors are flocking to the town square at dusk.

Night view of Teluk Intan Leaning Tower

In the ground floor, there is what appears to be a well facing the main entrance and some old photographs adorn the walls. There is a narrow spiral staircase leading to the second floor. The second floor is empty, only a few photographs hang at the walls. Another spiral staircase leads up to third floor. Here you can see the base of the old unused water tank above you. Walking by the encircling platform you would have a 360 degree view of Teluk Intan. Here you can see the Komplex Menara Condong (Leaning Tower Complex), Medan Selera Menara Condong (Leaning Tower Food Court), old styled shops as well as a town square which at the back of the leaning tower.

View of ground floor, the spiral staircase and the base of the old unused water tank at the top of third floor.

View from the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan.

Later, we drove around the town for about an hour. There are many hotels near by Teluk Intan Leaning Tower. The Grand Court Hotel and the Anson Hotel are impressive hotels.

View of Teluk Intan town.

After we drove around the town, we found a place to have some local food, the name of the stall is called Hawaii. It is just next to the Anson Hotel. We ordered the famous ‘Ice Wan Tao Long’. It is a kind of shaved ice with some special ingredient which looks like 'jelly' on top of it. The taste of the jelly itself is tasteless and no artificial colours but the shaved ice is sweet and sour. Other than that, we also ordered Ice Kacang, Rojak, Mee Kicap and Laksa with fish ball.

Ice Wan Tao Long and Ice Kacang

Rojak, Laksa with fish ball and Mee Kicap

Teluk Intan is not only known for the tower that looks very much like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy but also the excellent traditional cuisines and snacks sold here. Many of the popular foods sold here have a long history with special recipes pass down from generation to generation. There are a lot of food courts, restaurants and street stalls around the town. To me this is a great destination for food lovers.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pangkor Island

I love sea, I love the enchanting beaches of Pangkor Island. It is my dreamland. I came here ten years ago. 11 of December 2013, the day I revisited one's old site ...... Again, I stepped relaxedly on this joyful land.

Pangkor Island is located off the coast of Perak state in West Peninsular Malaysia. It is a prominent island among a cluster of small islands. We started our journey from Kuala Lumpur early in the morning. We took the North-South Express way to get there. After three and a half hours, we reached Lumut town. It is a gateway to Pangkor Island. We parked our car at a building called "Medan Letak Kereta" which is a multi-storey covered car park run by the local authority. The parking fee is RM10 for a day (24hours) on weekends, and it would be cheaper on weekdays.

There are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland but we can get there by ferry.  There are two jetties in Lumut. One is called Lumut jetty, the other one is called Marina Island Jetty. It is about 40 minutes ferry ride from Lumut Jetty, and merely 10 minutes ferry ride from Marina Island Jetty. I preferred the 40-minute-long ferry ride since my kids wanted to view the seascape on the ferry.  We bought tickets for the ferry at a counter just next to the Lumut jetty terminal, RM10 for adults and RM5 for children.  All tickets sold are return tickets. Remember to keep your ticket properly for your way back.

Lumut Jetty Terminal & ticket counter

Lumut jetty

ferries at Lumut jetty

sea view of Lumut

The ferry stopped at Sungai Pinang Kecil jetty before we reached Pangkor Island jetty. Normally, the first stop is for local residents and the second stop is for tourists. After 40 minutes, we reached Pangkor Island. Once stepped out from the exit of Pangkor Jetty, we saw many pink color taxi vans parked at the parking lot. These pinky vans available for most part of the day to take visitors around.  Before we checked in to the hotel, we took a round-the-island tour on a pinky van that was about 2 hours for RM80. The van driver was a Chinese uncle,a very nice guy. He told us the histories and stories of each attractions when we passed by or stopped at those places. 

view of Pangkor jetty and pinky vans

Our first destination was the Dutch Fort or "Kota Belanda" in Malay.  According to the information board, this fort was built by the Dutch in 1670 for storage and protection of tin supplies from Perak. This fort was destroyed in 1690 by the Malays who were discontented with the methods used by the Dutch in obtaining the mineral. It was rebuilt by the Dutch in 1743 and a force of 60 soldiers were placed to guard the fort until 1748 when the force was disbanded and the fort abandoned.  It was reconstructed by the museum department in 1973 and was gazetted as an ancient monument and historical site under the antiquities act 1976 No.242 Perak gazette dated 21st March 1978. It is now a  peaceful scenic spot in Pangkor Island. 

Dutch fort in Pangkor Island

surroundings of the Dutch fort

Our next destination was  the"Fu Ling Gong" temple. It is one of the popular Chinese temple in Pangkor Island. The temple is located at the foot of Pangkor Hill. There are many various Buddhist statues inside the temple. Many Chinese tourists like to visit and pray in this temple to get blesses from god.  However, this doesn't mean that only Chinese would come and visit, other races and foreign tourists also love this place because of its exquisite environment. There are many alcoves, big rocks and ponds around. The unique sights of its surroundings is a miniature "Great Wall of China" built beside the temple. Besides, the huge "Destiny" rock on the higher part of the hillside is a prominent feature.

"Fu Lin Gong" temple

miniature "Great Wall of China" and "Destiny" rock

There are ponds and alcoves around "Fu Lin Gong" temple.

We took half an hour's break at a food stall in front of the temple then we continued our journey to Hai Seng Hin fish satay factory. This is a famous seafood snacks manufacturer which located at Sungai Pinang Kecil, Pangkor. As soon as we entered the factory, we noticed a charming "giant octopus" structure above the office door. I think this is the sign of the factory. At the back of the factory, we saw many dried fishes under the sun, this is part of the manufacture process. Besides visiting the factory, it is also a nice place to do seafood snacks shopping at their sales store next door. We bought many fish satay, prawn crackers, dried & shredded cuttlefish and some dried seafood for cooking.

The "giant octopus" and the dried fishes under the sun

Later, we headed to Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay). This is one of the popular beaches in Pangkor Island which offer sun and sea enthusiasts activities like snorkeling, wind-surfing and kayaking. I like the seascape here especially the photogenic powder white sand and the clean water. What an enchanting beach! Nipah Bay has a view of two small uninhibited islands called Pulau Giam and Pulau Mentagor (Giam Island and Mentagor Island). Viewing from the angle of the northern part of Nipah Bay, the small Giam Island just in front of the Mentagor Island. From the beach, you can take a short boat ride to these nearby islands. 

I heard that Pulau Giam (Giam Island) is popular for snorkeling. The waters are shallow and there are lots of corals and fishes to see. Anyway, we didn't experience it but we saw a lot of visitors over there. I am sure there must be a very attractive place. Our van driver told us that the Giam Island is accessible by foot when the tide goes out. According to the driver, this kind of rarely low- tide phenomena will only happens on the 1st or 2nd of January in Chinese lunar calendar.

view of Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay)

view of Pulau Giam (Giam Island)

There is a Chinese temple called Lin Je Kong Temple (Goddess of Mercy Temple) located at the north of Teluk Nipah. There are a lot of artistic structures a round the temple. Once we reached the temple, my kids started taking photos crazily with those artistic hut, inscribed Chinese words stones, man-made mini mountain, statues and other designs in cartoon style. It is really a great place for photo shooting. It is said that people who pray and make wishes here will get their wishes answered. Hence, I tried to experience the Chinese Traditional divination. I prayed to the Goddess of Mercy and drew a divination stick by shaking the canister of numbered divination sticks ........ Ha ha! I was making a few wishes. 

view of "Guan Yin" Temple ("Goddess of Mercy" temple)

Pasir Bogak was our last destination. It is located just about a few kilometers from Pangkor town. Pasir Bogak is generally a busy part of the island where you can find a lot of resorts, hotels, chalets, motels, shops and seafood restaurants. If compared it with Nipah Bay, Pasir Bogak is quite developed while Nipah Bay still retains it "village" environment.

Pasir Bogak Beach is the longest beach in Pangkor Island. According to the information from internet, Pasir Bogak Beach has been described as " the biggest swimming pool in the world". This crescent shaped sandy beach with the shallow crystal-clear waters lets people enjoy endless frolic and have fun.There are numerous shady trees along the beach which provide idyllic picnic spots under the canopy of their lush foliage. When you are having fun and frolic, relaxing or strolling at the beach you can also enjoy a good view of Pangkor Laut Island, a world-renowned tropical island which is located on the west side of Pangkor Island. The Pangkor Laut Resort is situated  on this island.

The Coral Bay Resort is one of the resorts in Pasir Bogak. It is the place where we stayed over night. After we checked in to the Coral Bay Resort, we had a short rest. This hotel features an outdoor swimming pool which is my kids' favorite place. After swimming, we headed to Pasir Bogak Beach. It is merely a 5-minute walking distance from Coral Bay Resort. We saw many food stalls selling local mouth-watering delicacies and people promoting boat trips at the beach. Here you can hire an island hopping trip, banana boat ride, snorkeling trip and so many other water-sport activities packages easily as there are many boat-trip advertisement boards can be seen around the beach. The beach was always crowded with visitors, it bustling with excitements and noises of the lively children. If you liked to take pleasure in enjoying the water-sport activities or a lively environment on your holidays, Pasir Bogak Beach would be a great destination. Other than that, you can see many majestic hornbills roosting on the treetops or flying around in the evening.

My kids enjoyed playing beach games, building sandcastle, strolling and beachcombing by the beach. They liked this lively and lovely beach, they also liked the beach in the dark. Me too. After our seafood dinner at the nearby Chinese seafood restaurant,again .... we came to the beach. We enjoyed viewing the night scene from the beach. We could see a glimmer of light on the far shore of Pangkor Laut Island . Yes! that was the light of Pangkor Laut Resort. It made the calm sea no longer lonely in the dark ...... It is said that there are "blue tears" ( some tiny little sea creatures glowed with brilliant blue color) can be seen at the beach or in the sea at night. In fact, I don't know what they are ..... I have been told that people who see it to be very lucky. There were many teenagers looking for the "blue tears" by the beach, so did we. Anyway, we didn't find any "blue tear".

view of Pasir Bogak Beach

view of Pangkor Laut Island

hornbill and sea creature

night view of the surroundings of Pasir Bogak Beach

night view of seafood restaurants and shops

The next morning, after having breakfast in the hotel. We headed to the sea to view the morning scene of Pasir Bogak Beach. My husband and I were just having a relaxing walk on the beach while my kids went for beachcombing for the last time attempt to collect as many sea shells as possible. Later, we checked out from the hotel and got ready to go to the second destination in Perak.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A day trip to Kuala Selangor.

One day trip in local! Yeah, having a relaxing trip to Kuala Selangor was our desired planning.
Kuala Selangor is one of the great tourist attractions of Malaysia. It is a coastal town at the river mouth of the the Selangor River. There are many attactions in Kuala Selangor. Firefly Park, Nature Park, Bukit Melawati , Fishing Village and some seafood restaurants in Pasir Penambang are famous places.

The fireflies is the biggest attraction of Kuala Selangor. Anyway we didn't plan to go there for the trip as my kids were scared to be in the dark on the river. We decided to go to Bukit Melawati and Pasir Penambang. Well, that was the time for my kids to go somewhere new and hung out where I could find my own favorites.

We took Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway(LATAR Expressway) to get there. It is only an hour's drive from KL. There are 3 toll plazas along LATAR Expressway. All 3  toll plazas charge the same rate. Vehicles with 2 axles and 3 or 4 wheels (except taxi) have to pay RM2.00 per toll plaza. In total, we paid RM6.00.

Getting up to Bukit Melawati can be done via the tram ride or walking on weekends. During weekends, cars are not allowed up the hill, there would be trams that run up the hill from the foothill. We got no chance to take any tram there because the day we visited to Bukit Melawati was a weekday but we were allowed to drive up to the hill.

Once we arrived the entrance of Bukit Melawati , my kids were waiting impatiently for the sightseeing of new places. Our first impression of the starting end was the fresh and greenish environment. A lot of rain trees were planted around the hill slopes. Oh, a nice recreational park.

recreational park

Driving up to the highest point would take to the place where most visitors congregate.The first thing we saw was the silver leaf monkeys. There were many silver leaf monkeys hanging around on the road. Ha ha! we "greeted" by those monkeys. Most of the silver leaf monkeys there were very approachable. We saw a few visitors buying food from a vendor there for feeding those monkeys. What was fascinated me was the orange-haired baby monkey. It is the offspring of the silver leaf monkey. The silver leaf monkeys are Bukit Melawati's most popular attraction. You can see those monkeys not only on the hilltop but also some other places around the hill. Usually, you might see the silver leaf monkeys sitting quietly among the trees, along the bridge or railings, around park benches and roadsides. They are not aggressive.

silver leaf monkeys

Second attraction of Bukit Melawati is the lighthouse which stand "proudly" on the highest point. Visitors are not allowed to go into the lighthouse. We could only take the photos from the outside. This lighthouse is the town's famous landmark. It was built in 1907 and it is also known as the Altingsburg Lighthouse.

Altingsburg Lighthouse

Next to the lighthouse is  the Historical Museum of Kuala Selangor District. It is free entry. If you want to know the information or histories about Kuala Selangor, it is highly recommended to have a visit there. In front of the Historical Museum, there are many ancient cannons and a lot of huge trees which provide shelters from the sun.

View in front of the Historical Museum of Kuala Selangor

In front of the lighthouse is the viewing point. From the top, we had a spectacular view of the plains right up to the seaside. We enjoyed the panoramic view of  the Strait of Malacca from the peak.

View of the Strait of Malacca

Opposite the Historical Museum of Kuala Selangor is the Baitulhal Bukit Melawati. This is the place to sight the new moon to determine the beginning of Ramadan and Syawal.

Baitulhal Bukit Melawati

We spent nearly three hours in Bukit Melawati. Later, we headed to Pasir Penambang, a Chinese fishing village. Pasir Penambang is famous for its fresh seafood. There are many seafood restaurants in Pasir Penambang. Majority of the seafood restaurants here are Chinese seafood restaurants. Apart from seafood restaurants, there are a few Chinese temples in the village. One of the Chinese temples there named Qi Jian Xian Shi Fo Zu Gu Miao or in chinese it is called 七剑先师佛祖古庙 is a unique temple. The design is so special. There is a cave looking structure built on the top of the temple.

A Chinese temple named Qi Jian Xian Shi Miao in Pasir Penambang

There is a cave looking structure built on the top of the Chinese temple

While we were hanging around  outside the temple, we chatted with a lady who stayed nearby the temple. She is a very kind and helpful person. She showed us the way to get to the coastal housing area of the fishing village. As my kids had been longing to see the fishing boats and the life of fishing village,that was a good time to bring them along.

The coastal housing area is just few minutes walking distance from the Chinese temple. We walked along a narrow lane beside the houses and reached the place where fisherman parked their fishing boats. Here we had witnessed the life of the fishermen living in the houses built on stilts.

fishing village

A few fishing boats parked along the Selangor River.

The evening was approaching, the east was dim ...... it seemed to tell us that it was the time for dinner. It was right! Our next desired destination was a seafood restaurant. There are two large seafood restaurants located by the river which nearby the Chinese temple. One is called River View Seafood Restaurant and the neighboring seafood restaurant  is called Jeti Seafood Restaurant. We came into the Jeti Seafood Restaurant. This restaurant has a spacious wooden platform built on stilts and extended towards the river. Since it was a weekday, the restaurant was not crowded. There for, we had a free choice of tables to sit at. We chose a table which right facing the river. Here, we had our delicious meal while enjoying the beautiful scenery. We liked the feeling of having dinner by the river. Although the restaurant was not air-conditioned but the cool breeze was blowing and blowing......quite pleasant. We stayed at the seafood restaurant for about one and a half hours. We were not only enjoying the evening scenery but also the beautiful night view of the river.

sunset at Kuala Selangor

night view of Selangor River

After dinner, we bought a few packets of prawn crackers and some dried seafood from the shops nearby the seafood restaurant. They were considerably cheaper than other places in Kuala Lumpur.

After that, we departed from Kuala Selangor back to home with sweet memories. We were tired but happy.......

Saturday, 23 November 2013

How to make an animal hair clip

My little girl likes animal hair clip, I think so does your lovely little girl. Make some for her, and she might give you a lot of kisses in return.

1. A piece of snap clip
2. Two pieces of felt cloth, purple and pink
3. Scraps of felt cloth (different color)
4. Embroidery floss, black, beige and maroon
5. Polyester sewing thread 
6. Poly-fill material  

1. Draw an outline of the bear's head on a piece of paper. The diameter of the outline should be bigger than the width of the thickest part of your snap clip. Here I make it about 3cm.

2. Then cut it out and put it on a piece of felt. Hold the pattern and felt firmly together and cut around the pattern piece. Of course you can use any pen/fabric marker to draw the outline and cut. Cut out another piece (same color ) with the same method.

3 & 4. Now, take one of the head patterns and sew the pattern you designed for the face. Then sew the two pieces head patterns together with running stitch. Stuff the head with a little poly-fill material before you reach to the end of stitching. It looks plump now. Set it aside and go to next part.

1. Choose another felt in different color, cut out two background pieces by using the clip as a sizing guide. These felt pieces will later be attached to the clip.

2. Then, take one piece of the background pieces and mark the positions for making a slit line (refer photos in no.2 ,3 and 4).

1. Now, follow the slit line and make a slit with a blade. Do it carefully.

2. Slide the skinny part of your clip through.

3. Snap the clip and put some glue on the clip as shown in the photo.

4. Attach another background piece on top of the snap clip. Set it aside to let the glue dry. You can use hot glue if you don't want spend time waiting the glue dry.

1. Make a crease line by folding or pressing the edge of the felt as shown in the photo.

2. See, the crease line is appeared. Use the crease line as a guide when you sew the edges.

3. Tie a knot in the end of the embroidery thread. Insert the needle through up from the inside of the felt. Sew the edges around with blanket stitch. Keep the stitches and spaces as even as possible.

4. It looks nice when you have finished sewing up the edges.

1. The first photo show the underside of the crafted snap clip.

2. Now, sew the bear's head that you made just now on the thickest part of the clip. Sew it with polyester sewing thread.

3. You can simply put the head on as long as you think it looks nice or just happy with it. Sew it with slip stitch.

4. Done! You can give it to your loved one now.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

How to make a rosette hair tie

I believe every lady would like to have their own unique hair accessories, me too ...... Today, let me show you the way I make my unique rosette elastic hair tie. I hope you would like this project too.

1. A piece of crew sock
2. A piece of felt cloth
3. Elastic
4. Polyester sewing thread

I use a crew sock to make a strip. First, draw the lines on the right side of the sock as shown in the photo. The length is about 26cm and the width is about 2cm. The length and the width of the strip would determine the size of the rosette. If you wish to make a bigger rosette, you have to add the length to extend the diameter of the rosette. If you wish to add the height of the rosette, you have to add the width of  the strip, otherwise you need not to do so.

Cut out the strip follow the black lines, need not to fold the strip because it was already a fold. Anyway, you should fold the strip if the fabric you plan to use is only one layer or not a fold strip. In this case the width of the strip should be changed to 4cm and fold the fabric strip in half.

Roll the strip to form the center of the rosette by holding the folded side facing upward. Start rolling the strip from the right side (the cuff part of the sock). I rolled the strip a few times then sew it into place. In order to  hide the knot of the thread, inserting the needle from the bottom of the roll as shown in the photo.

Take a small space and insert the needle then push it to the opposite side. Pull the thread out and then insert the needle from the opposite side back to the first insertion point. Repeat these steps 2 or 3 times, need not to cut the thread off, just bring the needle to the bottom of the roll and pull the thread out. The same thread would be used to sew the layers into place in further steps.

This is the pattern of the stitch

Now, start wrapping the strip around and around, twisting the strip every now and then. Continue wrapping and twisting to the end of the strip. You might find it is not easy to wrap and twist initially but it would be fine after a few practices. I sew a stitch every now and then as I go to hold it into place. Try to hide the stitch every time, so I suggest you sewing the stitches under the twisted strip. Remember to insert the needle back to the bottom of the roll after every sewing.

This is the front of the rosette ....... It looks beautiful now! 

Let's turn to the back of the rosette. Sew a small piece of felt circle on top of it. I recommend using a thinner felt because it is more easy in sewing and looks nicer than a thick felt. The size of the felt circle should be smaller than the diameter of the rosette. Sew it in place with the backstitch.

Now, place the elastic on the center point of the felt circle and sew it into place by a simple stitching. The stitches must wrap the elastic as shown in the photo. Usually, I would make 5 or 6 stitches on it and make sure the needle passing through the fabric every stitching so that it could stay strongly on it.

After that, cut out the second felt circle and place it on top of the elastic, sandwiching the elastic between the two pieces of felt. Backstitch along the edge of the felt circle.


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