Friday, February 27, 2015

Valentine's Day at Kanching Falls

Dong Dong Dong Chiang! Happy Chinese New Year. It is the season of celebration, with the week before Chinese New Year being Valentine's. I heard from some of my friends that during Valentine's everywhere was packed, even on the road! Thankfully our friend suggested to double date at Kanching Falls. It was something new to us as a couple and we have had the thought of going picnic but it didn't happen thus far until last Saturday.

We did some research online and found out some negative reviews about the place mostly saying that the place had too many monkeys & was too crowded. Some said that it was dirty. After reading that, we were pretty sceptical about the place but then there were also reviews that if we hiked up to the higher levels, it was cleaner and had lesser people. So it was on!

We left Petaling Jaya about 7.15am and arrive at Kanching Falls around 8.15am. It takes approximately 30 mins to one hour to arrive at Kanching falls from Petaling Jaya. There is an entry fee. It was RM2 per pax; RM2 per car. I would advice that you park in the middle or away from the forest because when we got back to our car, the monkeys nibbled off the rubber piece that was protecting the car antenna. 

At the entrance there is a stall that sells food and also another that sells snacks & picnic stuff alike. There is also a photography area with parrots. The parrots were so beautiful! Of course you will have to pay for taking photos with the parrots.

The first thing you will see after the parrot photo booth area is a wide landscape where kids can run wild and free! It has minimal trees around there so it can be hot. Whether you believe/follow or not, before entering the forest, always make sure that you follow some basic (superstitious) rules. Different people may have different set of rules. Feel free to follow your personal one if you have.
  1. Ask for permission/say a prayer (in your heart) before you enter.
  2. Don't disturb anything. Avoid tampering with the plants or trees. More importantly, do not take back things from the forest.
  3. If you see, hear or smell something odd or unknown in the forest, just keep quiet and move on. Do not mention or ask anything.
  4. Don't dirty the place which includes peeing in the forest. If you must, it is best to seek for permission first.
  5. Don't joke around or swear.
An official photo before we embark on our journey!

Oh boy, stairs. This was just right after the arc. These were still manageable. It goes all the way to the first level of the waterfall. Actually it only took 5 mins from ground level to the first level and it is nicely paved pathways.

Almost there! You can see a little of the waterfalls. As you can see in the picture above, these concrete huts are located vastly at several locations. These are nice spots for big families as each one has a table and seats. It overlooks the landscape of the waterfall.

The below picture shows level 1 of the waterfall. It is the only level that has a toilet and also a shower area. The water flows down to form a pool for people to swim. Thankfully we were early because there were only a few people during that hour.

Level 1 waterfall

Online reviews saying that there were alot of monkeys were true. They were everywhere. On the stairs, railings, pathways, rocks and we had 2 of them which followed us while we were going upwards.

Okay, we walked up a little more and came up to this flight of stairs. Yeah.. steep indeed. We guessed that this is the point where people decided to give up and stay at level 1. If you are unfit, it will be tiring and your legs will feel like you just did couple sets of lunges. We climbed and reached to a point that has a stream. There was a long sturdy log which the boys took advantage to take pictures on it.

Generally I find that the hike was not very tough. It was quite easy, if compared to Bukit Gasing, yeah it was easier. It's not steep all the way. Just the flight of stairs that was intimidating but after that, it was quite straight forward.

We walked for abit and then we arrived at this area where it was quiet and the only you could hear was the mild sound of the waterfall. Doesn't the picture below look like a paradise? If there was a flat ground where we could sit, I think that it would be a perfect spot.

After a while, we continued our hike upwards. There are some routes that are slippery and requires a little brain work and footwork to go through the area without hurting yourself. Of course if you had a helping hand(s) it would make it more easier.

The next stop was also breathtaking! It captures the waterfall right from the top. So we stayed there for almost 30 minutes just taking pictures.

"Look, the waterfall is there but imma just squat beside it because that's the furthest I can go."

The boys doing the "Agony" pose from Into the Woods. haha..

Realizing we stopped for quite a while and having stayed at that spot for quite a long time, we were hungry! But we know that should be a nicer spot higher up. so we hiked up until we almost reached the peak. It was a nicely flat spot where we can sit and lay our food out.

Isn't the backdrop beautiful! 

If I was geng enough I would've done a split jump or a russian jump. But nope.. I'm sticking to the ground!

Our friend's picnic box which they bought from Aussie. I would love one myself.

Make sure that you bring lots of water to drink too and also prepare some carbs to fuel the body because you need energy to go hike down. By the time we were done, it was close to 11am. We decided to head down because it started to get hot and as we arrived to the lower levels, the crowd started coming in. So ideally, arrive there early for a more peaceful and uninterrupted hike.

Om nom nom!

I loved my 2015 Valentine's! It was a calming hike throughout. Makes me want to explore more mountains. If you plan to go to Kanching Falls, I would say regardless of the reviews, it is a pleasant experience.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Chiang Mai, Thailand Day 2: Travelling Mueang Chiang Mai District

Rise and shine! Early birds gets the best view from the top of the mountain! It was a cold chilly morning in Chiang Mai. We were all wrapped up, ready to face the morning chills, even more ready to face the mountain air. 

I've got him by my side to keep me warm. :)

My OOTD for the day to prep me for the cold!

We had a local tour guide to bring us around Chiang Mai. First stop was breakfast! In that kind of cold weather, we were all looking forward for breakfast. This breakfast spot was packed in the morning. We had to split to two tables to accommodate us all.

I think their porridge and fish maw soup were one of the hits here as alot of people were ordering the same thing. I had the fish maw soup, and it was so heart-warming. However if you want to sustain the cold, better to have more than just a bowl of soup. Else you'll get hungry probably halfway through the journey.

Fish Maw soup

Warm porridge

I do not know what's the name of the stall but here's a picture of the signboard if it helps? Haha.

It's s cold that their pets have their own winter clothing! How adorable! Believe it or not, this cat was actually sleeping. It had it's tail curled up in the middle of the entrance of the house, napping away. Even when we touched it and sneak up right beside it to take a picture, it didn't budge at all.

After a good breakfast to wake up the body, we were on a 1 - 1 1/2 hours ride to the mountains, destination, Doi Suthep. But before you reach the top, don't forget to stop mid-mountain to catch the view and some grub.

Don't forget to stop mid-mountain for some snacks!

Turns out Doi Suthep wasn't the highest peak yet. the surrounding felt sort of like Cameron Highlands. There were rows of small shops by the roadside selling food and clothes. Lots of visitors both locals and tourists. Most who were there for prayers and give offerings. You will walk flight of stairs, line up to purchase your ticket. There is a lift to reach the top. Alternatively, you could take a long, long flight of stairs, but we took the lift instead, Hehe.

Entrance fee is 30 baht per tourist.

As any other or most temples, you should be dressed decently. We were also required to remove our shoes before entering the temple. There are lockers for rent if you worry that your shoes might just magically disappear if being left on the rack outside. 
The entrance to the temple

The temple is really magnificent. Probably the most beautiful temples I've seen. There are also other areas outside of the main temple that spans through a landscape of the mountains.

Would you climb the steps up? We didn't but we did take the stairs down.

He doesn't look impressed... At all.... haha.. but don't worry, He didn't carry me down the stairs. It was only for picture purposes. Disclaimer: Boyfriend was not hurt during the process.

Abundant food awaited us at the bottom of the hill! Trust me, we never went hungry one single second in Chiang Mai. Generally, most of the stall sells the same food stuff but they don't taste that far off from one another. 

After getting some food, we went up high up to visit Bhubing Palace, the Royal Residence. To enter the compound, visitors will need to pay an entrance fee and also required to be in decent attire.

In Bhubing palace, visitors will get a chance to walk through the rose garden. The roses were really beautiful. I'm sure they are handled with delicate care. Accompanied with the cooling weather, it was a lovely stroll while stopping now and then to look at the roses. I took alot of pictures of the roses, but fitting it all here would mean that I will require a post on it's own. Below are a few of my favourite flowers.

It's quite the scenery in the palace. Further down is the water reservoir and then there are a few other royal residences around the area as well. We didn't take the outer walkway, instead we took the inner shorter way.

And of course more food

You can't miss this huge Bamboo tree!

Since we were in the area, we thought that we should drop by the local tribe village to take a look. It was my favourite part of the Day 2 tour. I loved the hills and the cold air. Makes me feel like if I lived there, I would be running free-spirited up and around the hills. The cold air makes it even better.

Feels a little like Cameron Highlands

There is a sample houses for visitors' to enter and take a look. It is amazing how the government ensure that these local & traditional cultures & lifestyle are preserved as much as possible. I find that by allowing visitors to these villages, it serves as a source of income for the locals as well, which is a smart move by the government.

A few more pictures of the interior

One of the best dessert you can possible get in Chiang Mai. Coconut Ice Cream! I had mine with bread, or you can opt for non-bread instead. If you are a slow ice cream eater like me, need not be worried because the ice cream didn't melt that fast. Maybe due to the weather and the bread blanketing the ice-cream. So get your ice cream, and enjoy the beautiful landscape.

We got a chance to see Poppy Flowers!

As you go down the hill, there is a stretch of stalls selling all kinds of items such as textile, clothes, handicraft items, etc. The price is on a higher end because after all it is a tourist spot. Nevertheless, it could work as window shopping! 

Such a smart dog. It knows who to go to for food.

Before taking off to our next destination, we took a quick bite. Each of us had 1 pork skewer, as it was quite a distance to our next destination. What a glorious taste it was! Glazed and grilled to the right texture. Available widely in Chiang Mai, sweet, flavourful and juicy.

It was lunch time by the time we got to ground level. Our tour guide brought us to try Northern Thai food. Boy was it good. In English the restaurant is called Northern Thai Food (quite a vague name don't you think?) But if you do visit Chiang Mai, get your tour guide/cab to bring you here! You won't regret it!

I don't converse nor read Thai, so I just looked through the menu while our tour guide and uncle ordered away.

Similar to Malay mixed rice, they have all these food laid out for you to pick but you can opt for ala carte instead which I recommend because you get to taste the flavours of North Thailand.

No meal is complete without sticky rice in Thailand. I just love their sticky rice. It was really soft and fresh. The sticky rice was different from the one I ate in Sungai Golok. The secret was because they were contained within the little rice basket. A good way to ensure that the sticky rice says soft and doesn't harden is to take out the rice little by little only when you want to eat it.

Minced pork with mango salad side

Thai Curry

Some vegetable to accompany the dishes

One of the few things that we ate a few times in Chiang Mai which is one of their speciality. It is widely available in Chiang Mai, which you can find mostly by the roadside stalls.

Doesn't this look like "Siu Yuk"? But a leaner version. haha

Minced pork

Pork Ribs

Chicken Khao Soi
Hand cut rice or egg noodles, coconut milk, curry soup base
Khao Soi is basically the Thai version of curry noodles, consisting of egg noodles, coconut milk & curry soup base. Unlike Malaysian curry noodles, its soup wuite close to a broth like texture but it is not very filling as the soup is proportionate to the noodles as if the noodles are just floating on the soup. there is a choice of chicken or pork Khao Soi. I personally preferred the Chicken Khao Soi. The chicken was fall-off the bone tender and immersed with the curry flavour.

Pork Khao Soi

Mango Salad

The Thab Thim Krob were so much bigger than what they have here in Malaysia. Only thing was that the syrup was too diluted.

That sums up our lunch, the Thais truly have a way with their pork (if that even made any sense). We headed on to the silk factory from there.

Silk Moth says hello!

The silk moth looks cute doesn't it??!! They breed the silk worms in the factory itself and it is all free for all to view! Amazing right? As you enter, you will find a shelf with baskets of silk moths & silk worms. I find it so magical that they don't fly away from the basket. Must be something that keeps them in the basket.

Silk worms.. Err.. ok. This is not cute at all... haha

The cocoon... which is..

...boiled after that to extract the silk. :O

These ladies are so skilled. Surely and truly they have been doing this for decades or more perhaps. The lady below is weaving the silk to form a piece of fabric. As a matter of fact, there are about 4-6 weaving stations.

After you have finished the tour in the fabric production area, you can proceed to their shop where they sell fabrics in all colours! Lined up in hues according to their colour group. There are also more premium fabrics with an array of designs and colours. 

Aside from fabric, they sell items such as apparels (men & women), toys, pencil box, hair scrunchies, key chains just to name a few. They are pretty to look at and to own too. Of course it would be slightly more expensive too. After we had settled what we needed, we decided that we should call it a day and head back to our hotel. 

Later at night, we walked around our area, remember that beautiful decor which I took on the first day? They lit up the fairy lights and it was magical! We went into one of the cafes Kantary Cafe ( to chill. I knew that they wanted to celebrate my birthday. :) Celebrating my birthday overseas *checked!*

A small cafe but it was very comfortable as there weren't many people. Actually if I remember correctly there was only one couple during that time. 

I believe the above was hot chocolate. Yums.. Look at the cream oozing from the cup! I loved the french toast though. My first time seeing such an elaborate french toast that comes with ice creat & whipped cream. I find it considerate of them to keep the syrup seperated and on the side so that we can pour our desired quantity over the toast. The toast was light and fluffy, I just couldn't stand the ice cream. Cold weather AND ice cream man... oh yes, and their air con was super cold too.

The macarons were just average. Not something I would order them the next time should I return. 
There was no "Happy Birthday" cake but only "Happy New Year" cake which was close enough. hehe. 

The cake was mildly moist but the ganache was too overwhelming for my liking. The chocolate ganache was too thick that it became dense. Whereas the texture was close to pasty-like. After a few spoons of the cake, I got sick of it. Couldn't even finished my portion.

Look how nice of the staff! They even have prepared cutouts for photo purposes.

Now that dessert was taken care off, we took a night stroll along the roadside, stopped by 7-11 to get some food. to me, 7-11 in Thailand is like the Jaya Grocer of Malaysia. Cause you can get everything there! :O They have interesting items and those which you can't find in Malaysia. But now I noticed that Malaysia is slowly bringing in some of these items from Thailand.

We retreated to our rooms early because it'll be another early day as we had plans to visit another mountain - Doi Inthanon. The 3rd day in Chiang Mai is one of my favs! Will (do my very very best) to blog about it soon! :p

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