Archive for February, 2011

[Photo] View from the Highest bar in Beijing

From the top floor of the China World Tower 3 is Beijing’s highest bar and skydeck. This breathtaking location gives you one of the best views of Beijing. With over 20million people in this city, where you could be on the subway for almost 2 hours from the north end to the south end of the city, Beijing could be felt as a big city. But from the 80th floor, Beijing doesn’t feel as big. Drinks and food at the lounge is overpriced as expected but considering the panorama view of the city it is well worth the visit. This photo is looking out towards the east side of the city from Guomao.

[Photos] The National Mosque (Masjid Negara) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

What I find most interesting about Malaysia is the diverse background of its people. I witnessed a  buddhist temple on one block and then a mosque on the other side of the street. The Masjid Negara is the National Mosque of Malaysia and is a site that must be seen if you are in Kuala Lumpur. This uniquely designed mosque embodies a contemporary expression of traditional Islamic art and ornamentation. Standing prominently against the skyline is the sleek and stylish 73m high minaret. Enjoy the photos.

[Photos] Hat Yai, Thailand

From our journey back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Koh Lipe, Thailand we took a bus from Hat Yai, Thailand. Located in southern Thailand near the boundary of Malaysia, you can see some Chinese influences within the city. My Chinese abilities were quite useful in Hat Yai as I tried convincing my foot massage therapist to press lighter. I had no idea what this place was until I arrived but Hat Yai was an interesting place for photography. Enjoy the photos below.

Mangos were sold everywhere in Hat Yai

The Taxi Bus, picks up everyone and re-routes as they go

Random disco ball in the middle of the street

[Photos] Koh Lipe, Thailand

Approximately 2 hour away from Langkawi, Malaysia is a castaway island so rich with untouched nature. This is Koh Lipe. I have had the opportunity to see some of the islands off of southern Thailand but Koh Lipe was by far the most beautiful island. Koh Phi Phi and Phuket were overly touristy and it was hard to get away from the crowd and be lazy on the beach. But Koh Lipe is exactly that kind of place. If you are backpacking from Thailand to Malaysia or vice versa, I would recommend staying at Koh Lipe. The only problem was finding a lodge. During high-season we witnessed backpacker’s walking around for hours on this tiny island looking for a place to stay and some resort to sleeping on the beach. But of course, prices in Koh Lipe are higher than Thailand mainland so expect to spend 100-200 bahts per meal. Here are some photos I took in Koh Lipe.

[Photos] Where the Hell is Matt? in Beijing

This past weekend, youtube phenomenon and world traveler known as “Matt” was in town to shoot scenes for his newest video. He said his journey across 100+ countries started in 2003 when he was backpacking in Vietnam and his friends thought that it would be interesting to take videos of him dancing badly all around the world. Eight years later he has a sponsor endorsing his travels around the world, has his own t-shirt and is living a Forrest Gump-like life. He was nice enough to take some videos with us as well(youtube/tudou). It was interesting to see Beijing expats and local Chinese come out and dance together with Matt. It seems like everyone in China is dancing these days.

[Photos] China World Trade Center Tower 3 at Night

Beijing’s tallest building. The view from the top floor gives you a great view of the entire city of Beijing. Often times I feel Beijing is such a large city but when you’re up there looking out in the distance, Beijing doesn’t feel as big. Hard to imagine that this building didn’t exist 5 years ago.

[Photos] Fireworks in Beijing during Lantern Festival 2011

I wasn’t able to get the best photos possible for Lantern Festival since I still had to do work this evening but I managed to capture what was going on right outside of my office in Central Business District, Beijing. Same time last year, right around my block, there was an incident where the fireworks inflamed one of the major buildings in Beijing and so this year the city did a great job locating fire fighters, police officers, and guards on every corner of the city making sure that everyone had a safe and fun lantern festival to end the Spring Festival. Nonetheless, I have never seen so many fireworks right in the middle of downtown in a metropolitan city. This would never happen in Tokyo or New York. The scale of the world’s largest uncoordinated fireworks was tremendous as you can hear fireworks at every corner of the city this entire week. Here is a video that showcases the fireworks from Chinese New Years eve. Enjoy the photos as well.

The Aftermath

[Photo] Rock Stacking in Koh Lipe, Thailand

The art of rock stacking has different meanings in various cultures. While in Koh Lipe, Thailand I witnessed an entire island dedicated to stacking rocks. In Thailand, people visit this island off the coast of Koh Lipe and stack up the rocks and make a wish.

[Photos] Scenes from Penang, Malaysia

Five hours away from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is Penang. I was amazed by all the Indian, Chinese and Malaysian influences on this island located North West in Malaysia. Here are some of the photos I took in Penang.

Local elementary school in Penang

China Town

[Photos] Chinese New Years in Penang, Malaysia

My initial motivation to leave China for Chinese New Years was to get away from the bustling city of Beijing and relax in the tropical environment in Malaysia. But turns out that I was completely misguided and wrong. Beijing turned into a ghost town during this period as the majority of people who reside in Beijing went homebound to the other provinces in China. Instead I was stuck on a plane with Chinese people who decided to go out of the country during this period and our destination of Penang was full of Chinese Malaysians as they rushed into Penang, where most of the Chinese ancestral origin is in Malaysia. Malaysia sports a fascinating history of immigration, including its ethnic Chinese population, whose numbers are second only to that of the country’s ethnic native Malays. But it was interesting to see Chinese culture and its celebrations taking place in Malaysia. We were able to visit the Khoo Kongsi Temple in Penang. Here are some photos I took at the temple.

Khoo Kongsi Temple, Penang

With so many people and incents being lit, it was difficult to go inside the temple.

Incents again. Not sure if the shirt fits the traditional Chinese New Years celebration but cool to see so many different kinds of incents.

Man carefully selects the birds to be sold and released. These birds were to be bought and released immediately out from their small cages.

The interior of the Temple

Lanterns were everywhere in the China Town part of the city as well as this temple.

[Photos] First Snow in Beijing this Winter

This morning turned out to be a special one for most Beijingers as the city experienced its’ slowest snow fall in the last 60 years. I was able to get my camera and take some quick snaps before work at Tiananmen Square.

Photo taken from a residential area in Chaoyang District

Residents wait for the bus in the snow

Guard stands still as visitors enjoy the beautiful scenery at Tiananmen Square

With Chinese New Years celebrations almost near the end, today was a perfect excuse for people to come out and see a different Tiananmen Square than usual

Guard stands still in front of the Forbidden City

Snow makes for cool photos

[Photos] Tianjin during Chinese New Years Eve

Apologies for the lack of photos these past couple weeks. I  recently returned from a week-long trip in South East Asia yesterday (Photos from my trip will follow this post throughout next week! As well as Snow photos from Beijing). But my journey to South East Asia began in Tianjin where the river in front of the railway station was completely iced up. With Chinese New Years, there wasn’t too many people in Tianjin, just like Beijing, but residents here were enjoying the ice as they skated across carefully to the other side of the ice river.