Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Looking around Taiping

I've been to Taiping a few times over the years but don't know it very well. This year, 2014, I've been 4 times since April, with one overnight trip in Nov. So this year I got to see a few of the sights.

Taiping was the capital of Perak until 1937 when this status was given to Ipoh.

One of the best known attractions is Lake Gardens. I usually drive around the gardens on every visit. It is such a nice place with the long avenue of century-old rain trees. These majestic trees border the road and in some places drooping branches seem to defy gravity as they almost touch the passing cars.

Within the gardens is the Taiping Zoo & Night Safari. I have never been to the zoo in the daytime. This Nov we did the Night Safari which was a first for me.

Mixed feelings about the night zoo. They have  quite a few trams to take people around. There are new electric ones but unfortunately we were on one of the oldest non electric, it was really noisy and hardly made the slight uphill gradients. Also the commentary was too loud and all in Malay. Otherwise it's quite good. Didn't see too many animals - not sure if it's cos they were hiding or if they have died, as at some places e.g. tapir & camel, the man didn't even slow down to look.

Also in the gardens is The Commonwealth War Cemetery. It lies on either side of the road leading to Maxwell Hill. There are almost 850 graves and many are marked 1941 the final resting place of a company of soldiers who fought the Japanese when they invaded Taiping.

The cemetery has two entrances, and there are different religious sections the Christian graves are on the south-eastern side of the road while the Muslim and Gurkha soldiers who fell in battle are on the opposite side. More than 500 of the graves at the cemetery are unidentifiable.

Further up the road is the entrance to Bukit Larut / Maxwell Hill. However the road had been closed since mid Oct due to a landslide.

We wanted to go to the Burmese Pool so set off walking. However we didn't realise it is right by the bridge and we walked for more than half an hour before turning back as it was getting dark.

There are nice old trees in town as well

I revisited the Perak Museum in Aug, they now have dual pricing and it is RM5 for foreigners. It was opened in 1886.

Opposite is the notorious Taiping Gaol, built in 1885.

Perak's oldest brick mosque is in Taiping. Built in 1897, the old Kota Mosque was a Hanafi sect mosque that was used by the Indian Muslim community. Its architecture is unique as it has a six-sided facade. The mosque was later passed to the Malay community and thereafter became known as Masjid Melayu (Malay Mosque).

The country's first railway was built to transport tin from Taiping to Port Weld on the coast. The first train ran in 1885 and slowly replaced the elephants which used to carry the tin ore along the jungle paths.

Outside the First Galleria are some railway relics, such as this carriage and some platform bridges.

Also this phone box which actually came from England. The First Galleria is housed in the old Sanitary Board Building.

There are some murals near Yut Sun

I've been to Yut Sun a couple of times, for coffee and cakes, the latest visit was for lunch and cakes. It's an old style Hainese coffee shop.

 Opposite is a pisang goreng shop

Another old building
and some interesting vents

Sadly there is lots of development now. The first condos are being built and there is construction in other places as well - this one is next to Kamala Resort near the cemetery

 And some 'news graffiti' in Lake Gardens

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dragonflies and damselflies

I don't really know the difference between dragonflies and damselflies so tend to call them all dragonflies. They belong to the order Odonata.

They both have 2 pairs of large wings that are delicate yet detailed. Dragonflies usually spread their wings when resting. Damselflies have the wings folded over & parallel to the body when resting.

The following photos were taken from my balcony in KL.

This one was on a cable so I had to use the zoom -

These were on the wall -

 and another one -

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Songkhla Nov 2014

My annual visit to Songkhla. Last time was March 2013.

As usual I did the free tram ride. This time I was the only passenger so the guide was able to talk in English telling me about the many sights.

After I walked round the old town and went to one of my favourite lunch places which does delicious but very cheap rice dishes.

I saw a large red building that I had never noticed before. There was an adjacent brick chimney. So I went in for a look and discovered it is the old rice mill.

There were lots of posters around the wall in Thai and English giving the history of the Songkhla area as well as the town and the buildings.

The oldest Chinese building in town (300 years?) -

 An attractive lane leading to the waterfront -

On the main street -

There are a few canals in Songkhla. In 2013 they were covering this one with logs and I wondered why

 this is why -

and these are the uncovered parts -

I have no idea what bionic food is,

but I did see a nice cake being iced, sadly it was too big to carry
The next day when I went past, the cake was finished

As usual I took lots of photos of the old town, far more than I have posted here!