Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My First 2015 Trip to North Thailand

Is been a busy start of 2015! Travel, work, Chinese New Year celebration,... this has caused some delay in update of my posting...

This post was a summary of my recent trip to North Thailand back in late January. As usual, the best time to visit North Thailand is from late November all the way to February. The weather during this period is dry & temperature around 10-18 Celsius.

Changi Airport
I took this photo while I was waiting at the lounge before boarding time. The sun was about the rise from the east.
Doi Ithanon
We proceed to Doi Inthanon National Park upon arrival at Chiang Mai. Temperature was 13 degree... I enjoy this temperature as it was around 32 back in Singapore.

Blue sky with nice pink cherry blossom! Is really a great experience to walk under a rows & rows of cherry blossom tree.
I'm not sure what plant is this but I think is a kind of cabbage? These was planted as ornamental plants in one of the garden that I visited in Doi Anklang, another favorite mountain to visit at North Thailand during this period.
Although is 'winter' over at North Thailand, the weather was quite dry. The fallen leaves carpeted the whole road surface.
We stop by this coffee stall operated by the natives.
Coffee powder
I never tasted coffee this good! I bought 2 packet, my luggage was filled with nice coffee fragrance when I arrive in Singapore! Should have buy more packet.
Coffee break
This trip was a very relaxing trip, we brew coffee & enjoying our nice coffee while we bird watching!
I saw this life size elephant while on our way back to Chiang Mai from Doi Anklang. It was when we overtake this vehicle that I realize is not real elephant. It looks so real when we was behind.
Chiang Dao
We also stop by a new cafe near Chiang Dao. It has a nice garden outside the cafe.
Chiang Dao
The path that leads to the cafe...
Chiang Dao
One of the nice display in the garden.
Garden snail
Giant snail!
Chocolate bun
I got myself a cup of ice-blended mocha & a very unique choco cream custard bun. I enjoy this trip very much and I will put up some of the photos that I have taken while birding in my next post. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Treasure Hunt at Bali

Being the largest tourist destination in Indonesia - Bali is no stranger to those who seek spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful beaches, friendly people, scuba diving, etc.

Since Bali is part of the coral triangle, there is no surprise Bali being one of the favorite diving destination due to its rich marine biodiversity. Well, one may enjoy the rich marine biodiversity by scuba diving or alternatively, visit Bali when the tide is at the lowest. Refer to the tide table & pick a date that Bali is experiencing spring low tide. During spring low tide, the inter-tidal area that usually cover with sea water of up to few meters deep will be exposed and remain accessible up to 3 hours before the tide return.
I did another inter-tidal walk at Bali last November and I choose Sanur an area that with lots of hotel/resort to choose from. Based on the tide table, the tide will be lowest at 7.30am. We plan to go to the inter-tidal area around 6.30am but was delayed till 7.00am due to light rain.

Sanur Beach
The tide is already quite low when we reach the Sanur beach.
Bali, Jukung
The colourful traditional fishing boat known as 'jukung' line up at the shore, a great subject for photograph.
Sanur Beach
 The tide is still going down as I head to the inter-tidal area.
Sanur Beach
I'm now in the middle of the ocean! I'm walking instead of swimming in the seagrass meadows! Is time to pay attention to slight movement as most animals here camouflage very well.
razor fish
 This school of baby razor fish looks really like part of the sea grass until they start to move.
Hermit crab
Saw this very beautiful hermit crab slowly moving from one place to another looking for food I presume.
Moon snail
A naticidae or commonly called Moon snails was seen ploughing at the sandy area. Moon snails may looks very pretty with the very shinning shell, they are fierce predator! They will drill a hole on mostly bivalves and use its proboscis to consume the flesh of their prey.
Helmut debelius (Cymbiola vespertilio)
Another very pretty yet deadly  predators of the inter-tidal area - Helmut debelius (Cymbiola vespertilio)
Merely more than 2 cm wide, isn't this small crab cute?
Sea star
First Echinoderms that I saw... half buried in the sand - a bristle star.
Sea star
More bristle star of different colour.
Sea star
Another sea star that camouflage very well with the substrate.
Sea star
Nature never fail to amaze... talk about design principle such as unity/harmony, balance, hierarchy, similarity and contrast, etc. You name it, this star have it.
Sea urchin
Pencil sea urchin hiding in the crevice in the day & will come out at night.
Sea urchin
Another sea urchin in one of the tidal pool.
Sea cucumber
Sea cucumber, another member of the echinoderm.
Knobbly sea star
Not forgetting this huge sea star - Knobbly sea star aka Chocolate chips sea star.
Carpet sole fish
This may look like a flatworm at one glance but is not. This is a carpet sole fish! Can you spot the two eyes that is staring at you?
Also flat in shape is this nudibranch.
Fisherman also taking advantage of the low tide and fish at the inter-tidal area.
One of the many sea weed that can be found in the inter-tidal area. All these are indeed treasure to be discovered once every fortnight when the tide are low.  :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Year, New Calendar & New Book

I received a very special package late in the afternoon on the vary last day of 2014. Just in time to celebrate the new year!
Instead of plain colour envelope, this package come with a drawing of a bird. To be exact, is a drawing of a pigeon - “幸福之鴿”
ROC stamp
 Such an unique packaging, no doubt that this package has to be sent from Taiwan!
I was speechless when I unpack the package! OMG...  there are a total of 3 items and none of them can be bought here over in Singapore. One customised post card, one customised calendar and one very special bird guide/book - "Field Guide of Wild Bird in Taiwan" that was launched just a month ago. I was trying to get a copy when I was on holiday with my family at Taiwan just 2 weeks ago and I couldn't find it! This must be one of the best gift that I received of the year!

Both the post card and the calendar are some of the many great photos that taken by the sender. You really need to visit her blog to find out yourself. Do drop by 蔚藍手札 to be amazed by many of her great photos, travel experiences, nature, etc.
Field Guide of Wild Bird in Taiwan
This is Taiwan very first hand drawn bird guide published late last year. Thank you very very much Euphtw! It is now easier for me to id new birds that I saw in Taiwan!
 This book was published in October 2014.
Being able to id the bird is one thing, being able to pronounce their local name and communicate, talk or discuss it with the local is a totally different story. There are birds that having the same common name but are referring to two different species at different area or country. With this book, I am able to compare their scientific name and know how they are called or named in Taiwan. No doubt this is the best gift of the year.

On the side note.... more excuses to visit Taiwan again!  Haha...