Tag Archives: birds

Asia’s Largest Bird Park

22 Jul

After a few days in KL I was running out of sights to see and activities to do. I had heard about the Bird Park but wasn’t sure if I was that bothered forking out 40 Rinngit to see some birds in cages. In the end I teamed up with another traveller from Prague and we set off to the Botanical Gardens. On arrival we decided we may as well see the Bird Park now that we were so close.

It was actually money really well spent. We wandered around the HUGE park for about 2 hours, and after a while we totally forgot we were actually in an enclosure. The area is so large and the nets are so high up, with trees and plants and flowers obscuring the view skywards, that it is actually quite easy to forget where you are. While some of the rarer birds, and the more aggressive ones, are kept in large cages, the majority appear to be walking, hopping and flying around at their leisure.

The tourists that we were, we decided to get our photo taken with some of these larger birds in the “photo booth”, of which you can see the results below. There is also a snack shop, a cafe and a large souvenir shop…but we didn’t waste much time or money in these.

If you have more than 3 days in Kuala Lumpur, or if you are there with Children, I would highly recommend a trip to the Bird Park. Pleasant way to kill an afternoon, only minutes from the city.

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fruit bird food

blue peacock

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cute colorful parrot

feeding parrotts

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pelican on table

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Bugs, Plants and Survival – The Cameron Highlands

12 Jul

I arrived here by accident, which I must admit, is how many of best experiences happen. I hopped off the boat from the beautiful Perhentian Islands (which I will write about in another post as believe me paradise has its downfalls!), and decided I would get the next bus to Kuala Lumpur. It turned out that bus would not be departing for 6 hours, and in 34’c heat that was not an ideal situation for me. It was an overnight bus that would arrive in the capital at 5 in the morning which was also not-so-ideal!

Opting out of that, I asked where I could do within the next hour. There was a tour bus going to the Cameron Highlands at 2pm, so I decided that would be my next destination. What I didn’t know was that I would be the only passenger on the bus! Not that I cared, it meant I could tilt my seat back, stretch my legs and sleep for 6 hours. Pretty perfect really. Except for the crazy driver who decided to beat his personal record and to try to cover the 400+ Km distance over mountainous roads in 4 hours instead of 6. This made for QUITE the bumpy ride, which was not great for my already dodgy stomach.

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tea plantation cameron highlandsTravelling Asia for a a few months  or even a few weeks, you simply cannot escape getting “delhi belly”. This is even more so in Malaysia, which has a huge Indian population and an even bigger love for Indian Curries! In places like Penang it would be almost blasphemous to eat anything but local cuisine, and in places on the east coast like the perhentians you wouldn’t even have the choice.

The journey to the Cameron Highlands, apart from the bumpy roads, crazy driver and me almost going taking a pee in a prayer room instead of a bathroom, was pretty uneventful. The scenery was pretty amazing though, driving for hours through palm tree forrests, jungles and eventually up and down and over all the hundreds of acres of beautiful tea plantations.

On arrival I checked into Kangs Travellers Lodge, where I bagged a private room for just 7 Euro. Bargain! Today I went on their ‘Mossy Forrest walk’ which was way more interesting and entertaining than your average ‘Forrest walk’. Our guide was extremely knowledgable and seemed to know the name, the age and the healing properties on virtually every plant in the Forrest!

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He showed us a tree that has leaves that are used to make citronella, which can protect you against mosquitos. However he pointed out that the one place it grows, is probably the one place you won’t ever find mosquitos! He casually picked a berry off another plant squished it between his fingers and showed us the purple colour that seeped out, a colour that turns black after oxidation and is then used to make mascara. Another plant smelled like spearmint or vicks, while another turned out to be wild ginger. We discovered some leaves, that take decades to grow, and looked like long hanging cups, and had this sort of sticky water in them that some how captured insects…it was like an insect eating leaf, very strange!

Our awesome guide also taught us about leeches and their healing properties to help thin the blood and clear blood clots, but also showed us leafs to help heal the wound after a leech had pierced you! He showed us which leaves/plants were poisonous and which weren’t and how we could test them (put a bit of the sap under you armpit and if it is itchy then the sap is poisonous, if not, then you’re good to go).

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One of the most fascinating things I learned, however, was about the life of the Cicada bug. This guy, the male in particular, has such a sad life. He is one of the loudest and most annoying and creepy looking bugs I have ever come across with a buzzing song that could pierce your ears and give you a headache if you are too close, but after hearing his “life story” I can’t help but feel bad for the little critter. They live underground for 17 years (which in itself is pretty insane!!) then they come up above ground as a fully grown adult buzzing around the place looking for a female to mate with. They only have 2 weeks to do this before they will fall to the ground and die. And to make this task even more difficult…there are 100 males for every 1 female so competition is FIERCE!! In the world of the cicada there simply AREN’T enough fish in the sea!

Apart from our amazing nature lesson, we saw some spectacular views over the surounding highlands, tasting tea in a huge 600 acre tea plantation and even got to go to a strawberry farm to pick our own strawberries, which although very overprices were delicious none-the-less! Day one in the Cameron Highlands has barely finished and I’m loving the experience already!

Skellig Michael – Puffin Paradise

10 Jun

Last Sunday, a day in which we experienced the most beautiful weather Ireland has seen in years, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Skellig Michael, an island located in the Atlantic Ocean, just 11 km off the West Coast of Ireland.

Skellig Michael, while not known to a lot of people (thankfully – that’s what makes it a hidden gem!), is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to one of the oldest Christian Monastic settlements in the world – founded sometime between the 6th and 8th century. It is also home to a vast range of wildlife, including Puffins, Seagulls and over 50,000 gannets! Not bad for a tiny island off the coast of Kerry!

Thanks to its status as a world heritage site, its obscure, remote and exposed location, only 13 boat licenses are granted each year and these tour operators are only allowed to run a single trip to Skellig Michael each day during the summer season. This means that only a lucky few get to see this magical place each year, and if you happen to land while the sun is shining, as we did, you can consider yourself truly blessed!

The boat trip to the island took about an hour, and we had nearly 3 hours to explore the island itself. This was the perfect length of time to climb the 618 slippery steps to the monastery that perches on top, to explore the expertly built beehive huts that the monks would have lived and slept in, which have remained intact and untouched for hundreds of years and to take in the spectacular views, scenery and abundant wildlife that is on offer.

It’s hard to believe such a piece of paradise, a tiny bit of history frozen in time, exists right on our doorstep. If you live in Ireland, I think you should do everything you can to visit this very special place. My only regret is that it took me 27 years to discover it.

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skellig michael steps

Sunsets – Warming up the Irish Winter

10 Dec

cobh sunset

cork sunset

Birds at sunset

It's Strawberry Blonde

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