Category Archives: Overseas Travel Locations

Kilim Karst Geoforest

Photo Morsels continues its exploration of Langkawi with a visit to the Kilim Karst Geoforest.

Prior posts have introduced Langkawi and noted its declaration as a UNESCO Geopark in recognition of the island’s relatively unspoilt environment and unique geological features.

Langkawi contains three major geopark areas and a number of smaller sites. The previous post visited the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park. This post turns its attention to the Kilim Karst Geoforest at the opposite end of Langkawi Island to Machinchang.

To quickly summarise the Kilim Karst Geoforest, it is a network of mangrove waterways that takes its name from the Kilim River, one of three rivers in the area and from the geological term ‘karst’ which is used to describe landscapes formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite or gypsum. It is this karst topography that makes the area quite special. Words can’t really do the beauty of this area justice, so let’s just get on with the photos.

Kilim River Cruise, Langkawi

Our boat trip started at Tanjung Rhu where there’s quite a flotilla of long boats waiting to service the tourist trade.

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Gunung Machinchang

    Gunung Machinchang? What’s that you say?

Well, to cut straight through the suspense, Gunung Machinchang is a mountain peak and the dominant feature of the western end of Langkawi island. It is also the subject of this second post in a photo series featuring images from a recent holiday to Malaysia.

Destination for the first week away was Langkawi which is located on Malaysia’s west coast just inside the border with Thailand. Langkawi’s tourism has been developed around its largely unspoilt natural beauty and the island has declared itself as a UNESCO Geopark, ensuring it’s development is guided by consideration for the environment and its unique geological features.

Within Langkawi, there are three major geopark areas and a number of smaller sites. One of the major parks is the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park. The park protects a geologically significant area, with the sandstone rocks that form Gunung Machinchang and the adjacent peaks representing some of the earliest land to form in the region we now know as South East Asia. The sandstones date back to the Cambrian period some 500 million years ago and were originally part of the margins of the Gondwanaland super-continent.

Langkawi folklore however ascribes the presence of Gunung Machinchang to a fight between two giants. Mid-fight, both were struck by lightning and turned into stone. One of the giants became Gunung Machinchang and the other Gunung Raya, the other significant peak on the island. Gunung, by the way, means mountain in Malay.

Park visitors can access Gunung Machinchang’s peak via a cable car that rises from near sea level all the way up to Gunung Machinchang’s 708 metre (2323 feet) peak. Built around the cable car’s base station is a tourist village area called Oriental Village which incorporates a cluster of buildings incorporating Malaysian and Oriental architecture styles. I’ll save images of that for a later post.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang So, onto the cable car ride up to Gunung Machinchang.

For my first photo, I conveniently found a car coming around the base station’s turning wheel decorated with quite a pretty advertisement for Langkawi rather than one of the not so interesting ones for a local bank.

Readers of my previous post should recognise the bird featured on the front of the cable car. Quick memory test: what was it called again?

The cable cars look to be exactly the same models as used on Mt Titlus in Switzerland. I found this somewhat reassuring having previously undertaken a cable car ride up and down Mt Titlus!

If you happen to visit Langkawi and plan to use the cable car, please note that it is closed on certain days for scheduled maintenance. These days are advertised on the cable car’s website. Continue reading

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…

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Afternoon on Fjäderholmarna

I hadn’t realised that Stockholm is at the northern end of an archipelago of some 20,000 islands until a week or so before I was due to visit. The archipelago is a popular summertime destination  for both locals and tourists, and an island visit quickly moved onto my “to do” list. Fjäderholmarna is a small group of islands just 20 minutes by ferry from the centre of Stockholm, well served by ferries, and ideal for the time-challenged visitor to make a quick journey out among the islands. My work colleague and I hopped on an early Saturday afternoon ferry on a glorious June day, intending to have lunch over on Fjäderholmarna followed by a bit of a roam about.  Once there I discovered the whole island can be walked around in 20-30 minutes, but packs in a lot of interest. Continue reading

Stockholm at Night

I’ve been promising a few people that I would get around to posting some photos I took of Stockholm at night, or what passes for night a week before the summer solstice.  I’m jumping out of chronological sequence of my travels, so there will be a little bit of back tracking in later posts.

I rather like taking waterside twilight/night photos, and having discovered just before I left Australia that Stockholm is essentially at the top end of an archipelago of some 20,000 islands, I decided to pack my tripod just for the stop in Stockholm. The prolonged evenings at high latitudes was also something not previously experienced, and would be a novelty in itself.

By mid-June, proper late twilight only really gets going after 11pm.  This created a bit of a challenge in itself, as by that stage of the evening a mix of residual jet lag combined with general travel weariness was starting to take its toll.

Anyway, I was happy that the effort was made, and  I hope you will agree that the outcomes weren’t too shabby.

Stockholm in the evening light

Stockholm in the evening light

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The Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark
Back from an overseas work trip, and starting to make  a dent in reviewing and editing the 1200-odd photos taken over the two weeks I was away.  While the work and act of travelling itself keep me quite busy, I also make a very deliberate effort each trip to get out and about after hours and on weekends to discover the places I am visiting.  A large stack of photos is the usual product of this enthusiasm to explore.

Stop 1 on this year’s journey, after a 26 hour flight from Australia, was London. Arriving at dawn on a Saturday morning, the first priority was a few hours sleep to take the edge off the tiredness.  The day’s plan was said quick rest followed by an afternoon ferry ride down the Thames to Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark. Continue reading