Malaysia Holidays

Hello all, and welcome to a new photo series featuring images taken on a recent holiday to Malaysia.

In this post, I’ll provide a quick overview of the trip’s itinerary so you’ll have some idea of where Photo Morsels will be taking you over the next few weeks.

The primary destination was the island of Langkawi. Located on the western side of Malaysia just below the border with Thailand, Langkawi sits more or less midway between the Malaysian island of Penang to the south and Phuket to the north in Thailand. It’s main attractions are three geoparks that feature the island’s distinctive geological features and natural beauty. For the active, Langkawi has some nice beaches for indulging in all the usual water sports. But overall, Langkawi is much more low key compared to some of the well known South East Asian island locations like Bali or Phuket, which is fine by me.

After a week on Langkawi, several days were spent in Kuala Lumpur, and to finish, a quick stopover back in Australia at Darwin before returning home.

All up, two weeks away.

That’s plenty of time (too much time?) to take photos, and the primary reason I’ve been a bit quiet on Photo Morsels the past couple of months. I found myself with roughly 1,300 photos to sort through, process, edit and then try to select the best for sharing on Photo Morsels and elsewhere. And I discovered there is a downside to improving as a photographer – the throw-away rate has dropped noticeably. This meant more images were worthy of putting some effort into than would have been the case for equivalent numbers of photos on prior travels. I’m happy to report that the task is now complete, so let the posts commence!

This is a photo blog, so I can’t let a post slide out without at least a few photos, so for this introductory post I’ll cover the trip from Adelaide to Langkawi.

Malaysia 001

Adelaide Airport and an inspection of my ride for the first leg from Adelaide through to Kuala Lumpur. A nice shiny new A330 (registration 9M-MTO for the plane spotter) painted out with the One World logo to advertise Malaysian Airlines’ recent joining of, you might be surprised to learn, the One World alliance. My flight was just a few weeks after the disappearance of MH370, so I found myself during the flight with a somewhat heightened interest in watching known features go past…

Such as South Australia’s desert salt lakes…

Lake Everard from 35,000 feet

It’s taken me until the writing of this post to work out exactly where I was at this point. Initially, I thought this was Lake Gairdner. My family, who had flown to Langkawi a day ahead of me, then convinced me it was Lake Eyre. But leaving no stone unturned to ensure Photo Morsels readers are correctly informed, I did a little more detective work during the preparation of this post. I’m now satisfied that after flying along the eastern edge of Lake Gairdner, we are here looking at Lake Everard, just to the north of Lake Gairdner itself. To see so much water in the lake is unusual – this is desert country and most of the time Lake Gairdner and Lake Everard are dry salt pans, with Lake Gairdner regularly used as a high speed race track a la Bonneville in the USA.

Most of the flight over Australia was across truly hard and remote country. For passengers with views from the right hand side windows, Ayers Rock was visible about an hour after Lake Gairdner. I was seated on the left hand side of the plane, so you’ll just have to form your own mental image of Ayers Rock from the air! From there it was into the remote northern sections of Western Australia.

And then four or so hours into the flight, goodbye Australia!

Goodbye Australia

Clearing the north west coast of Australia and heading out into the Indian Ocean. Somewhere near Derby I believe.

Approaching Indonesia near Bali, the weather conditions were clearly becoming more tropical, with good sized thunderheads reaching the same altitudes as the plane itself.

Tropical thunderheads

Flying along the Malaysia west coast

Somewhere along the Malaysian west coast as we started the descent into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

Once at KLIA, there wasn’t a whole lot to do for the three hours or so before my connection to Langkawi. Although I had access to the Malaysian Airlines lounge, their wifi service was down, so that was the end of any thoughts of internet browsing via my phone. So I spent a little time calibrating by eye the focusing of my Pentax DA 55-300 zoom lens when mounted to my new K-3 camera. Took about half an hour of repetitively shooting a baggage trolley out on the tarmac, but in the end I decided I had corrected a reasonably noticeable back focus issue.

The main terminals are a long way from the runways so there wasn’t any opportunity to use my now calibrated telephoto zoom to photographing landing/departing planes. And although it was only mid to later afternoon, the light was as dull as could be, and the air was heavy with moisture haze. Woeful for telephoto shooting, so I put the Tamron 17-50 back on and amused myself with pictures of some planes parked on the tarmac.

Malaysian Airlines 9M-MLN

KLIA is a huge land holding down near the western coast of Malaysia, some 50km (30 miles) out of Kuala Lumpur itself. Plane is a 737-800 (9M-MLN for those interested in such things). Such is the power of the Internet, that I discovered it is flying from Xiamen, China back to KLIA as I type this.

Malaysian Airlines 9M-MMF

My ride to Langkawi was this rather old 737-400 (9M-MMF). I note that it has since been placed in storage.

KLIA runs a driverless monorail train between the two main terminals. Between the terminals it drops down into a tunnel beneath a major taxiway.

Look mom, no hands! Driverless monorail train between KLIA’s two main terminals. While operating above the ground at each end, between the terminals the line drops down into a tunnel beneath a major taxiway.

And to finish, here we are in Langkawi:

Eagle Square, Kuah Bay

Dataran Helang (Eagle Square), looking out over Kuah Bay. Langkawi takes its name from the Brahminy kites that are plentiful around the coastline. According to folklore, Langkawi’s name came from two Malay words – ‘helang’ (eagle) and ‘kawi’ (reddish brown): hence lang-kawi.

Dataran Helang (Eagle Square), Kuah Bay

Big bird, but not the fluffy yellow one from Sesame Street.

In the next post, we’ll start to look more closely at Langkawi.

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Camera Gear
Pentax K-3 plus Tamron 17-50 F2.8 zoom.
Samsung NX-1000 with Samsumg 30mm F2 lens for the shots from the plane.

Where was I?

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Related Posts

Malaysia Holiday Posts

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4 thoughts on “Malaysia Holidays

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