Saturday, March 29, 2008

My ancestral home

How many of us Singaporeans know where our ancestors hail from? Be it China or India or whatever country our parents/grandparents came from, it is certainly a piece of history I believe worth visiting......

Saturday, March 22, 2008


How many of us Singaporean urbanites done any farming? Or know about it for the matter? Well, a visit to a rural coastal countryside in Fujian province of China brought me some insight, as well as an aching back!

Even with the breakneck speed of modernisation of China, many parts of the huge country are still farming based. I had the opportunity to visit a town which does its farming beside its concrete buildings! And what did we plant? Nuts!

Yes, taking these raw groundnut kernels, it's just a matter of planting them into the tilled land. Oh, but what back breaking process! All I did was a morning and I'm done for! But hey, I've tried!

What is amazing is, not only do they do their farming on land, they do it at sea too! Yes! They even do farming on the sea bed!

One of the feature of the coast here is that once the tide recede, the seabed extends out several kilometres! So the locals start carving out plots of "land" on the seabed and farm a sort of mussels/clams unique to this area.
So, into these "plots of land", they "plant" baby mussels. Once the tide comes back in, they will immersed into the sea to grow. Once the tide falls back out to sea again, the seabed is exposed again, and the farmers will go out and "agitate" the land, which will not allow the mussels to get buried too deep into the ground. Neat huh! And they are delicious!!

They have been doing this since ages past. I wonder how long they can still do this.....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

WuYi Shan

WuYi Shan (武夷山) lies in China's Fujian province, and is a popular Chinese tourist destination. It offers scenic views of "mountains and waters", which seems to exemplify the Chinese notion of tourism beauty. And it seems to be exactly the 2 main things to do in the area.

The scenic area provides lots of trekking opportunities as well as many climbs up the various peaks of the WuYiShan mountain range. However, as would be expected in China, many of these paths up the peaks come with entrance fees, and it have become a stairwell climbing exercise. But the views are indeed nice. The number one peak in Wuyi is Tian You Feng (天游峰) or Heavenly Tour Peak and there is a saying that "If you have not climbed Tian You Feng, you have not been to WuYi mountain!"

The more relaxing activity in WuYi Shan would be to take the bamboo raft trip down the river. The river/stream is known as Jiu Qu Xi (九曲溪) or Nine Bend Stream, which not surprisingly, meanders through the mountain range with nine major bends. In fact, at some of the mountain peaks, you can see some of the bends (as in the first picture).

The bamboo rafts are pretty much how it was like in the olden days, but they've added chairs atop the raft for us tourist. As the rafts are basically bamboo poles lashed together, your feet are bound to get wet. So for those unprepared, the locals around the area would be selling you plastic bags for you to keep your feet dry!! So do keep 2 NTUC plastic bags handy when you go there.... ;)

So basically, the boat is steered by 2 boatsmen, who are of course the owners of the rafts (each raft actually has a license plate of sorts). Each trip takes 6 passengers at 100yuan per person (2005). The boatsman each take 150yuan and 300yuan goes to the company that operates this business (government-linked I'm sure). On a low season day, each boatsman can make at least 6 trips... I was there during low season, and the queue was still super long!!

Although I spent 4 days there, the weather was terrible, and it rained everyday! I had to trek in the rain, and 1 of the day, I had to spend the whole day in the hotel room! Nevertheless, I can see why many tourists come here every year. The scenery is really like Chinese paintings. Moreover, if you're a chinese tea lover, WuYi Shan is also home to acres of oolong tea plantations!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Travel + Photography

Obviously, there are many others who love travel and photography. Many are passionate about it, and like me, they'll share it through their websites and/or blogs. Here's someone I know, who's travel experiences and photos will make anyone drooooooool. Take a look at his blog.

Equally impressive is his experiences with his travels in China and how he shared the information. One of the founders of chinabackpacker website, I found his website invaluable for my preparation and planning of backpacking in China. Do check it out :

Yeah, The World Wide Web is great for travel planning eh! :)