Welcome to my Art and Lifestyle Blog. Follow my adventures as a Bohemian artist.


February 2008

Introducing Bulanlifestyle’s characters

Name: Mister Kobe
Breed: Rhodesian Ridgeback
Occupation: Watch Dog (watching other dogs guarding)
Weight: 62 kg
Hobbies: Sleeping, eating and resting
Skills: Standing upright and dancing on hind legs
Favourite food: Anything edible but if he really has to choose then it would be spaghetti

D.O.B: 26 July 2003

Name: Mojo Jojo
Occupation: Sidekick
Weight: 30 kg
Hobbies: Running in circles and hiking
Skills: Holding his breath for a long time and picking winning lottery numbers
Favourite food: Mostly plastics including rubber mats, car bumpers and car plates

D.O.B: 26 October 2002


Name: Lilo
Breed: Argentine Polo Pony
Occupation: Polo Professional
Height: 15 Hands 3
Hobbies: Sleeping
Skills: Fast and furious Polo Pro
Favourite Food: Carrots
D.O.B: 1997

Name: Camiseta
Breed: Argentine Polo Pony
Occupation: Retired Polo Pro
Height: 15 Hands
Hobbies: Eating
Skills: Sleeping while standing, wooden horse impersonator. NEW – Soon to be Supermodel….
Favourite Food: Hay
D.O.B: 1997

The disappointment of MacRitchie Nature Reserve

After having enjoyed the hike at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve last weekend, I decided to try out MacRitchie Nature Reserve for something different. The reserve boasts of 100 ha of primary forest with the highlight being the HSBC tree top walk.
All week I was looking forward to go to MacRitchie like a small child. I asked everyone I saw if they had been there but no one had. The mystery added to my excitement.

Saturday afternoon arrived and I packed my small rucksack with water, money, handphone and towel. I rushed out of the house and headed down to the reserve. It took 5 mins to get there and within minutes I was following the trail leading to the tree top walk. The trail starts at the car park and takes you along the reservoir, past the canoe rentals and finally into the forest. The pathway is wide and well marked but there were far too many pebbles which hurt my feet and the trail was really flat. After 1 hour, I arrived at the foot of the tree top walk. The boredom of the trail was all forgotten as I anticipated and imagined what this famous tree top walk was all about. I followed the signs and increased my pace. The signboard pointed left and the trail turned into a timber canopy walk. I walked a little further, turned a bend and stopped in front of a guard house. There was no one inside. Next to the door was a signboard which read:

HSBC tree top walk: Opening hours 9am – 5pm

I looked down at my watch. Damn it! It’s already 6pm. I couldn’t believe my luck. I walked for an hour on a boring pebble laden trail and the highlight is closed for the day. I could have had more fun and a better walk in the mall. Disappointed the only choice was to head back to the car. The walk back was sleepy. I could have run all the way back to end the torture quickly had I not been carrying the rucksack which proved unecessary on this occasion and my feet were hurting me terribly. The pebbles were stabbing my feet through my shoes. Again, I could have gone to the mall for a better walk and gone for a foot reflex if I wanted one.

Another hour later I ended back at the starting point and next to the carpark was a vending machine. I took out some money and headed towards the vending machine. I really could do with an ice cold drink. The sign reads:

Cash card Only

After a tedious 2 hour walk, hurting feet and no cash card for drinks! I was really cheesed off. I am never coming back here again and stomped back to the car and drove home.
Ok, maybe I may give it another chance just so that I can experience the tree top walk.

Hiking for beginners

My new found hobby for 2008 is hiking. After years of running on the threadmill like a lab rat, I woke up one day and decided to find greener pastures in the great oudoors. This revelation led me to discover some great places to explore.

In Penang, Malaysia
Penang Hill is the highest point in Penang. It offers several trails depending on your fitness level and is accessible by car. I have tried out 2 trails starting from the botanical gardens. I suggest parking your car by the batik centre/juice bar.

For the easy trail 1 1/2 hours – walk towards the botanical gardens and head left past the guard house. This trail takes you to the top of Penang Hill on the tarmac road. There is a pit stop at the halfway point called 84 and at the peak you can get a drink from one of the food stalls. Take some time to soak in the fantastic view of Penang. If you want to take a longer rest, search for David Brown’s restaurant and tea terraces for a bit of Penang nostalgia.
If you hate walking downhill, you can try to hitch a ride from one of the truckers. It saves you time and your knee caps.

For the not so easy trail 2 1/2 hours – head towards the ‘moongate’ – it literally is a gate in the shape of a round moon, and follow the steps up. There is a little outdoor cafe about 20 mins into the walk. This marks the last of the steps. Beyond the cafe, the trail leads you into the forest. It is not recommended to trek here after it rains as the soil is clay based and can become very slippery. The trail will take 1 hour to reach 84, where it joins with the tarmac trail. This is the halfway point of Penang Hill. If you are really fit, it takes another 1/2 hour to reach the top, but I took another 1 hour before I crawled my way up to the peak. It was ugly. Then it takes 1/2 hour to go down by the tarmac road.

Drinks – The best place to go after the trek is the juice bar next to where your car is parked. I highly recommend the pineapple and beetroot juice, and take it from me – I do not like betroot except for this drink.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bukit Gasing, located just outside the city offers about 10 trails that lead you into the forest, including one great one which takes you across a suspension bridge. The highest point is 160m.
You have to drive there. Parking is just along the side of the road. Read the map at the entrance or you will get lost!
Food and Drinks – After the exercise, get ready to refuel at Raju’s banana leaf just down the road.

In Singapore
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve offers several trails that are suitable for all ages. Bukit Timah Hill is the highest point in Singapore at 163m. The trails here are not very difficult. There is a tarmac road option which is the easiest and several trails that take you into the forest. The most challeging trail is called ‘Dairy farm’ which I totally struggled with. The trails here are well marked and if you are lucky you may spot the elusive flying lemur.
You can take the taxi or drive there. If you drive there be carefull where you park as there are a lot of resident monkeys around and they enjoy a little rest on top of car bonnets!

Drinks – There is a little shop at the base which sells all the essentials like mosquito repellents, plasters, drinks and ice cream.

Hiking Essentials
I suggest bringing the following just to be safe:
1. Your mobile phone
2. Mosquito reppellent
3. Water
4. Some money
5. Do remember to wear comfortable shoes!

As I am still new to trekking, please do let me know where your favourite places are and how to get there. Thanx!

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