Malaysia – My second home

Enjoy!

DSLR-Moviemaking

…what a trip! We are back from my second home “Malaysia” and I’ve got some nice video clips with me (626Clips, 67GB). I decided to skip to snap photos on the trip (I think I made about 3 photos) because my focus shifted from static pictures to motion pictures. Maybe you have already recognized this from my other blog posts: Canyoning Video, Las Vegas/Miami Video or Key West/Washington D.C./Baltimore/Philadelphia Video.

Everything started with the GoPro. You can just turn it “on” and easily shoot some clips. Everybody can do that today! After time to time I read many blogs, watched tutorials on Youtube or browsed through Vimeo. This is how I started to be interested in Videography (dslr moviemaking). How do I set a custom white balance? Why should i use 24fps and 1/50th shutter (180°)? What is a slider? What’s a Glidecam? Rack focus? Should I use a flat picture profile and why? Many many questions… and in the internet I found many answers for them. I blogged about few questions here.

photo3

No pain no gain and only practice makes perfect ;). I wanted to use my new knowledge and try to make a video about my second home. I of course made mistakes: Here and there it’s not perfectly sharp, few clips are over- or underexposed, some are shaky or I configured a totally wrong white balance. Sometimes the battery was empty or my lens had dirt on it. I learned a lot of things while practicing! I ran around with a no-name glidecam (s-60) from Aliexpress. After a while it began to rust, but I paid only 100$ and for a beginner it was perfect! Maybe I’ll get a Glidecam HD-2000/4000 in the near future :P.

Malaysia – The Trip

Out trip began in Zurich. From there we had a direct flight with Swiss Airlines to Changi Airport (Singapore). Thanks Carmen, for the little surprise (Champaign and a Swiss survival box) on our flight :). After about 12 hours we landed in Asia! We didn’t saw much from the world’s number one airport and went straight to the metro. We stayed at a small hotel in the red light district of Singapore, which is called Geylang. The hotel was very cheap and had a tiny room. Everything else was okay. We didn’t saw any crimes, prostitution or drugs in Geylang. We stayed for 2 days (1 day Singapore Zoo, 1 day sightseeing).

singapore

Next destination was Kuching. It’s the capital and the most populous city in the state of Sarawak in Malaysia (island of Borneo). I’ve visited Malaysia a few times, but have never been on Borneo yet. On the first day we explored the city on our own by foot. It was very quiet and not a lot of people were walking around. We didn’t saw any tourists and almost every shop and restaurant was closed. Holiday? A local lady told us, that everything closes at 6pm. Weird! We discovered an insider tip (Black Bean Coffee) and had very good Sarawak coffee there.

kuching

On the next day we had an early taxi pickup. At 08.00am we left our hotel and drove to the longhouse village “Annah Rais” (70 kilometer). The taxi driver was a really nice and funny Chinese guy and he gave us a lot of tips. That we couldn’t even open the door of the taxi and that he had to open his own door from the outside was secondary ;), the vehicles here are in another condition than what we are used to in Switzerland. I think I could read 380’000 kilometer on the tacho. After arriving in the village, we were welcomed by Eward. He is managing the homestay and organizing the tours. We ha a small room in his families house.

After a welcome drink and snack we started our trekking through the jungle to the untouched waterfall. We were only three people and everybody got a bamboo trekking stick. Our guide had also a small backpack with him, filled with chicken and rice for our lunch. We trekked about 2.5 hours! It was hot and moist. My clothes were instantly wet after a few hundred meters. We also picked out some leeches *ewwww*. But we survived the hike and arrived at the beautiful waterfall. While we had a bath, our guide was setting up lunch. He filled the bamboo with chicken and jungle herbs. It was delicious! I think you can imagine how our way back was… After our arrival back in the longhouse village, we went to take a shower and did a short 2-hours powernap ;).

After dinner we got a storytelling session from Edward himself. We also could try on the traditional costume of the Bidayuhs and shoot some arrows with the blowpipe. All in all, it was a very exciting and varied evening with lots of facts about the Bidayuhs. But then it was time to sleep!

After visiting the longhouse village, we drove also drove to Annah Rais Hotsprings, a cave and to the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (wild Orang Utans). After 4 days in Kuching, we had to say goodbye. We left Borneo and flew to capital city of Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur.

longhouse

Kuala Lumpur has a lot to offer: Culinary delights, many many shopping malls or also cultural stuff. We stayed in the hotspot, which is called Bukit Bintang. There is always action going on there. We ate Roti Canai (flatbread) and drank Teh Tarik (tea with milk) or Kopi Ice (ice coffee) on a daily basis. In addition to eating and drinking, we did some sightseeing and visited the Petronas Towers, Central Market, Menara Tower, Petaling Street and Batu Caves. Who already has been to Batu Caves, knows that there are many monkeys. Of course, we had to buy some peanuts to feed them. What a bad idea! It ended with a excellent executed monkey attack on the peanut plastic bag. Nobody was harmed :).

kuala lumpur

After 3 days in the city, we started our way in a bus heading north. It took about 4 hours and towards the end the ride got more intensive. Hairpin turns, speed bumps and vibrations accompanied our journey to Tana Rata. I think the bus driver was in a big hurry :). After some puking going on (not me ;), I was sleeping), we finally arrived Tana Rata, a small town in Cameron Highlands. Who doesn’t know what it is: The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations. The size of Singapore, it occupies an area of 712 square kilometers. It is famous for the huge tea plantages. Also there are huge strawberry, aspargus, rose and different vegetable farms there. Tana Rata is about 1500 meters above sea and as swiss tourists, we really liked the temperature. We booked a day tour and visited the highest point (2032 meter), a tea plantage, had a look how tea is processed and hiked in the Mossy Forrest. It was very impressive and we were permanently amazed. On our next day we were heading to our next destination: Penang!

Cameron_Highlands_Tea_Plantation_2012

Penang is a small island and located off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The island is connected with the mainland by the Penang Bridge. On the first day, we spontaneously decided to rent bikes. We found a small shop near our hotel, where bikes were offered. I still can’t believe, that we made it through the whole day without a scratch. The traffic in Penang is ridiculous. E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E cars, trucks and motorbikes! You can’t even cross the street on foot. We first visited the Clan Jetties and the lying Buddha. To cool down (it was a very hot day!), we strolled through a few shopping malls. On our next day we visited the most famous temple of Malaysia: Kek Lok Si. We wanted to try out the public transportation and took a bus. It took us about 1.5 hours to reach the temple. Of course it was again hot as hell and we had to climb a huge hill. After we saw the superb view and the temple itself, our negative thoughts immediately disappeared. It was worth the whole effort!

kek lok si

At the end of the trip, we decided to go to Pulau Perhentian (Perhentian Besar). It’s a great place for a quiet vacation on the beach. We slept till’ noon, had great local food, did some awesome diving, enjoyed swimming in the sea and got some nice tan ;). Sadly, it was our last stop in Malaysia, so after that we had to say: Bye Bye Malaysia, Hello Switzerland….

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Details

I have more detailed infos about the trip for the curious ones. We planed the whole trip with Google Maps :). It’s easy to use and every participant can add/edit/delete POIs (Point of interests). You can find all of our visited locations, hotels, sightseeing locations and yummy restaurants (a big thanks to Tripadvisor) on our map. If you want to visit Malaysia once in while, have a look at the map or leave a comment.

Locations (Google Map Link)
Singapore
Kuching
Kuala Lumpur
Cameron Highlands
Penang
Pulau Perhentian Besar

Camera / Lens
Canon 550D, Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF
GoPro Hero 3

Software
Adobe Premiere Pro CS6
Adobe After Effects CS6