China Video Diary

Taken with an iPhone5 and edited on Adobe Premiere Pro.

Yay! Finally done with editing! This is my first attempt at a travel video diary using Premiere Pro. There were actually more videos of the trip that I recorded on a digital camera, but I left it behind in Bali, so this video only has the ones shot on my iPhone. Too bad. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video! Beijing and Shanghai are two great bustling mega cities that made me feel so tiny and insignificant at their sheer size and efficiency. I’ve never been more proud of my Chinese heritage. The food is brilliant of course. Nothing beats eating authentic Chinese food! Definitely going back someday to visit the rest of the beautiful country.

Music: Mr.Li by Mr. Graceless

They are an amazing indie band from Beijing, check out their songs here!




Dieng Highlands Trip

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The drive to Dieng takes 5 hours from Jogja. We left at around 9 PM and arrived at the base of Mt. Sikunir at 1.30 AM. Waze made us take this crazy shortcut through a hill pass in the middle of nowhere to avoid going through the city of Wonosobo. The road was so steep, that all the passengers had to get out to reduce the car load!  We slept in the car to wait for morning and woke up at 3.30 AM for the hike. It was freezing!

The hike up Mt. Sikunir takes only 30 minute, but in the dark and cold, it becomes quite challenging. Despite the fact that the trek has been moulded into stairs, its still a steep climb and the soil is slippery. Temperature wise, I think Mount Bromo was colder, but here at the top of Mount Sikunir the wind is vicious. We were constantly battered by the wind from 4 AM until the sun rose at around 6 AM. Lacking appropriate clothes (we had no gloves nor head gear nor scarves) as protection against the wind, it was one hell of a miserable wait. We had to huddle up like sad baby penguins to keep warm.

Telaga Warna is a sulfur lake just 10 minutes away from Mt. Sikunir. It got its name from the water’s unique ever changing hues of cyan, blue and green. The trek around Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon (a smaller lake adjacent to it) is an extremely pleasant one. The air is cool and quiet, and the views are magnificent. I am absolutely in love with this lake – I am definitely coming back someday. There are literally hundreds of amazing spots to take pictures at. At our leisurely pace, and with our numerous photo stops (where the boys insisted on climbing every single tree), it took us an hour to complete the trek. The well tended garden of blooming hydrangeas in the middle of the wilderness was a pleasant surprise!

See you on the next trip!



Mount Bromo Trip

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My friends and I went on a short, impromptu trip to Mount Bromo after the exams. We came up with the idea in the midst of studying for exams, and then it just sort of happened. Well, if you call simply booking a one-way train ticket to Probolinggo, East Java and reading up on other people’s Mount Bromo travel experiences on the internet as planning, then I guess we did. Ultimately, our plan was that we were going to get off the damn train and wing it all the way to Bromo. Of course, with the (subliminal) amount of planning we had, things were bound to get a little messed up, but it was definitely worth it.

Just look at this breathtaking view of the sunrise from the Bromo Sunrise Viewpoint as it slowly lights up the equally breathtaking scenery. The 2.5 hour wait of standing in the freezing cold was totally worth it. Well, its actually not that cold, barely 14 degrees Celcius, but I have always had low tolerance to cold, so I get hyperbolic liberty on this.

The chilling beauty of the foggy desert, or as as they call it ‘Pasir Berbisik’, which literally translates to ‘Whispering Sands’. It is hands down my favourite spot in this entire trip, because I personally have a thing for desolate wasteland scenery. This desert’s mysterious name stems from the tendrils of fog close to the ground that you can actually see gliding across the wasteland as they are carried by the wind. I swear the pictures don’t do them justice.

This trip was absolutely crazy fun; with all its confusion and communication problems, the train ride from hell, the travel agency tourist trap, creepy late night walks in strange cities, all the way to our bus trip to Surabaya on the way home and getting lost there, but I guess that’s the charm of travelling. No cookie cutter guided tour experience could ever beat the adrenaline rush of spontaneous trips. You end up with the strangest experiences and hundreds of stories to tell, ones you can laugh about at the end of the day.