Lim Teh In The Sultanate

Lim Teh In The Sultanate.

Since we are looking at Brunei, let’s visit a Chinese kopitiam in Pekan Seria, Brunei. The shop was even more authentic than the many found in Malaysian towns. .

It featured old school coffee shop chairs and real marble table-tops from the 1950s or 1960s. There was also the quintessential bored cashier or proprietor sitting behind the counter. There were no big candy jars on the counter however,

At the time I was at Universal Cafe, the country had a reversed and practical system of halal certification. Since non-halal food outlets are few, non-halal shops are required to display a sticker or sign declaring Muslims are not allowed.

The are many Indian and Mamak eateries in the nanny state too, if you know where to look. Seria the coastal district and Chinese town was fascinating. It had a frozen in 50s or 60s look. Many of our kopitiams were once pristine like this. If authentic, the original shop ought to have the disgusting spittoon containers since the early patrons were refined tin mine workers. If you are unrefined, you just spit on the floor. Haha.

The majority of the Chinese speak Hokkien (Fujian dialect) here and were happy to converse in the mother tongue if you engage them. .

I still think Pekan Tutung, also on the coast, is the real Chinese town where Chinese schools and Chinese temples are found.

Chinese Bruneians are said to form 15 % of the Sultanate’s population and have considerable presence and clout in commerce and the economy. A characteristic of the worldwide and far flung Chinese diaspora.

There are many oil refinery ‘flare stacks’ visible from Seria and you can photograph the dramatic flames shooting up. A nice reminder that Brunei is an oil rich state.

Only one good hotel in Seria and it is the modern Roomz Hotel.

#documentaryphotography #streetphotography #travelogue #chinese #tutung #chinesekopitiam #kopitiam #coffeeshop #chinese #brunei #seria

The Bruneian Poor Man’s Harley

The Bruneian Poor Man’s Harley.

Brunei’s Kuala Belait wet market is like what our Central Market used to be; except the art deco building is circular.

I met vegetable seller, Bujang, inside. Somehow, we started talking about big bikes and he said he’ll go home to get his bike to show me.

It was the fairly rare Hyosung GV650 Aquila, a shiny cruiser. I remember distinctly Bujang telling me is China-made but a Google search later revealed it is a Korean product.

He described it as a poor man’s Harley for those facing mid-life or three-quarter life crisis. Bujang was 65 at the time.

The poor man’s Harley for Bruneians still cost a hefty USD 8,000 before tax. It is tax-free in Brunei, of course. I like the reaction of his then six-year-old daughter when she saw her dad returning with the bike. That’s Bujang’s wife’s bike behind the daughter.

Kuala Belait is the second largest town in Brunei, after capital Bandar Seri Begawan.

There are now 5 good hotels or more in small town Kuala Belait.

Book here:

#documentaryphotography #streetphotography #travelogue #travel #market #biker #motorcycle #cruiser #superbike #harley #hyosung #aquila #brunei

Sunset Capital Of The World

Kota Kinabalu is the sunset capital of the world. I don’t mean it in the metaphorical sense as in declining.There was a spectacular or glorious sunset every day I was there. This is a scene from the same balcony I captured the earlier pic of the flickering silver sea with Bernard Khoo. Without warning, it soon developed into a majestic golden sunset,

Whether you are on the balcony of your hotel room or on the beach or on the waterfront, or at the UMS jetty at Sepanggar Bay, at the stilt houses of the water village or at the Bandar Mosque, a stunning sunset awaits you daily unless it is raining heavily. West Malaysians need to know that sunsets in KK are an hour earlier at around 6:20 pm.

Don’t wait for the sun to dip below the horizon although the beauty of an afterglow with rich hues has its merits too. Compose to include reflections on water, wet sand and palm trees if there are. Photographers go to the seaside for sunsets because all these elements make a great backdrop. Not surprisingly, the Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort has a bar named Sunset Bar.

The beaches of Tanjung Aru is a great place to photograph sunsets. The coast faces West. If you are planning to go KK to photograph sunsets, book a KK hotel listed in MyCen Hotels ( Suggestions are Marina Court Resort Condo Hotel (where I photographed this), Tanjung Aru Beach Resort, Manukan Island Resort, the Magellan Sutera at Sutera Harbour and possibly at the resort at big Gaya Island, if you are on he correct side.

You can do it at any beach or high elevation vantage point you have access, Nobody owns the sunsets.

#sunset #dusk #goldenhour #sundown #nature #sea #kk #kotakinabalu #sabah #kk #kotakinabalu #borneo

On The Peak

Members of the NPC National Press Club went to climb Mount Kinabalu on the trip we made. Members from Bernama, Malaysia Nanban Tamil daily and NST, among others, were up on the peak or summit here at 4,095.2 metres or 13,436 feet.

FB friend Jugjet Singh Randhawa of NST had his turban ‘photo bombing’ Low’s Peak in perfect alignment. 🙂 Another iconic geological formation, the Donkey’s Ears Twin Peaks were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.

Jugjet,can you or anyone remember the name of the hotel in KK we stayed?

If you are a Mont Kinabalu climber, you can search for many budget hotels in KK at MyCen Hotels

#kk #mountkinabalu #kotakinabalu #mountain #borneo #sabah

The Real Dangers Of White Water Rafting

Since we are looking at Sabah hotels, I dug up some pics from a trip to KK with the NPC or the National Press Club. Don’t wear red life jackets or red safety helmets in case you encounter a charging water buffalo mid stream. The dangers are not just from hidden rocks and sudden drops. I shot this from the famous wobbly suspension rope bridge high above the Kiulu River.

The Kiulu River white water rafting site is about one hour or 50 km by road to Kota Kinabalu. It is a beautiful place surrounded by lush rain forest and enchanting wildlife. One hour away, you can indulge in luxury hotels such as the Hilton, Hyatt and the Shangri-la.

For hotels in KK, see my previous post on The Klagan

#sabah #kk #whitewaterrafting #buffalo #borneo #kiulu