A Giant Puzzle Baphuon

After Bayon, we headed to Baphuon. Situated north of Bayon, Baphuon is truly an astonishing spectacle. It has more than ten chambers at its base. Built in the 11th century before Angkor Thom was even established by king Udayadityavarman II, dedicated to Siva (Hindu) and is the second largest temple in the city.

There is a 200 m long causeway raised on sturdy pillars leading to the temple. The temple is multi-tiered and warrants a bit of exploration, as long as you are up for the very steep stairs.


The first, third and fifth tier were crowned by galleries, as well as tower-like door and corner pavilions. Twelve stairways also ran from the third to the fifth tier. A rectangular sandstone wall measuring 425 by 125 metres encloses the temple.

We followed the sign and started exploring the temple. The central tower was quite high, it was quieter than Bayon and there was a lovely view across Angkor Thom and into the surrounding wilderness.


Properly reconstructed stairs built under the conservation program by the French. Just a word of caution, the steps are really steep, those with trouble of mobility should give this a miss.

Continue reading A Giant Puzzle Baphuon

Responsorial Psalm

1st Sunday of Lent, the day I sang the psalm solo (cantor). We were the new batch of cantors trained to sing the responsorial psalm within the Liturgy of the Word during mass.


Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned. – Psalm 51

Pisang Waterfall

Last Saturday, February 24, I joined my colleagues to Pisang Waterfall. It was a weekend escape from the scorching hot weather and to be able to immerse in the chilling waterfall was a great pleasure. I’ve never heard of the waterfall, partly because it is overshadowed by the more famous ones like Templer  and Sungai Tua. Anyway the Pisang waterfall is one of the source water for Sg. Gombak.

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

We arrived as early as 8 a.m at Jungle Lodge Alang Sedayu, 12th Mile off Jalan Gombak. It’s the old Gombak trunk road going north before there was PLUS highway. Visitors have to pay a fee of RM1 per head and RM3 for parking.

The first thing you see is the water intake at the entrance.

Pisang Waterfall 2

Crossing streams is the prerequisite of this entire journey, you’ll get wet at some point of time.

Pisang Waterfall 3

Get across the two gigantic tunnels under the Karak Highway. This is where one truly experience themselves in the “light at the end of the tunnel” expression.

Pisang Waterfall 4

The trek is fairly easy to follow. TIP #1: Follow the stream, at the confluence, take the right turn. The walk from the tunnel to waterfall took us about 30 minutes.

Pisang Waterfall 12

Picturesque forest and stream.

Pisang Waterfall 5

A rather unique tree which its branches stretching far across.

Pisang Waterfall 6

The massive root system and the orange flower buds from the salakas tree.

Pisang Waterfall 7

We continued our trek, stopping in between just to take a short break for photography. They say it is not the destination that matters but the journey itself.

Pisang Waterfall 11

Behold, Pisang Waterfall! The full view of the beautiful 20 metre drop greets and invites you for a refreshing swim.

Pisang Waterfall 10

View from the other side of the gorge, there is a steep trail climbing up the gorge.

Apart from swimming, one can try wet abseiling. You will need to make special arrangement with the tour operators.

Pisang Waterfall 9

Pisang Waterfall 8

At the foot of the waterfall where visitors lay their picnic mats or just simple enjoy the scenery. This place is still a genuine beauty, but over the years irresponsible visitors have polluted the environment with of rubbish. So do your part, take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

Pisang Waterfall 1

I’ve included a map for your useful reference. For more waterfalls in and around Klang Valley, visit this site.

Coordinate: Jungle Lodge (N3 18 17.8, E101 44 07.0) 

All pictures credit to my friend ooisl.

Smiling faces of Bayon

After watching the spectacular sunrise at Angkor Wat, we headed northward to the ‘great capital’ of Angkor Thom. Built exactly in the centre of Angkor Thom is the temple of Bayon.

The moat surrounding Angkor Thom.



Approaching the South Gate entrance to the city of Angkor Thom, past the flanking stone sculptures of gods and demons spanning the causeway.




Angkor Thom means the “great capital”. Bayon, which is situated at the heart of Angkor Thom is the official state temple of Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII built around the 12th and 13th centuries.




We spent at least one and a half hour here hunting for stone faces, taking photos, and sitting in the cool shade as the hot Cambodian sun rose higher and higher. Honestly, I could’ve wandered here for hours being drawn to the smiling faces of Buddha.

There are 216 faces remaining on the temple’s towers. Such amazing ancient engineering feat. Some experts believe that the faces belong to the Bodhisattva of compassion; Avalokitesvara or Lokesvara.









Daniel set foot here on Thursday, September 5, 2013.

If there’s one thing that amazed me during this day trip at Angkor, it has to be Bayon! Stay tune for more Angkor posts.

Cover – the way lockscreen should be

Trying out a new lockscreen this time. I am not a great fan of launcher as I prefer things to be in its original form, that is to say I do not like tweaking the user interface and what not. There are many nice custom launcher apps out there, for instance Nova Launcher and Facebook Home, which I tried but later decided to uninstall them.

Then I discovered Cover, a lockscreen which I really enjoy using. It is a lockscreen replacement that learns what apps I use at different times and recognise what I’m doing. It knows when I’m at home, work, in a car or just walking and suggests apps based on that. Hence the tagline – the right apps at the right time.

What Cover does is it sits on top of my HTC One (Android 4.3) and Nexus 7 (Android 4.4) screen when it’s locked. At the moment it supports only Android 4.1 and above, and is in Beta version. Even though it’s in Beta, I don’t encounter any hiccups at the moment, the app works smoothly and does what it is supposed to do.

Right apps at the right time

When I turn on my device, the Cover lockscreen happily greets me with the apps I use most, a list of apps are shown on the left pane.

Today I feel jazzy so I plugged in my earphone, Cover automatically showed Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Call on the list of apps.

Cover Headphone

As I tilt my phone, Cover instinctively shows the camera button regardless of whether you tilt your phone left or right. It comes really handy.

Cover Camera


Another feature that Cover offers is ‘peeking’.  I can quickly see what’s new and launch apps with just a swipe. Take Google Translation, as an example, I just slide open the app and it’s ready to use. Productivity has never been this easy! Another way of using the ‘peeking’ function is to check notifications or incoming emails and alerts.

Cover Peek

Switch between apps

Let say I am surfing the web on my tablet and decided to write an email to my friend about something interesting I have just discovered, all I have to do is to bring up the app tray (on the top right corner). This allows me to jump directly between apps, skipping the steps in between.

Cover Website

Smart settings

I would say Cover is pretty smart. It identifies whether one is at home, work, driving or outdoor (only if you allow the app to access your location). Just set different ringer volumes or vibration/silent mode and wallpapers for each place. Let’s say silence when I’m at sleeping at night, vibration when I’m at the office and ring loudly when I’m outdoor.

Give it a try! Check out the video and download links after the break.

Continue reading Cover – the way lockscreen should be

Sunrise and evening at Angkor Wat

“Timeless yet timeworn, grand but intimate, oblivious to the passing centuries even as the jungle devours its huge stone walls, Angkor Wat and the scores of temples that surround it hint at eternity, only to remind us that nothing is eternal.” – Seth Mydans, NYT

Sunrise and Evening at Angkor 1

Angkor Wat (nickname City of Temples).
A 12th century temple built by King Suryavarman II. The height of classical Khmer architecture. A symbol of Cambodia, appearing on her national flag.

Extensive bas-reliefs and devatas (divine nymphs; celestial dancing girls) adorning its wall. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers.

Forming a rectangle area of about 1,500 by 1,300 metres, covers an area – including its 190 metre wide moats – of nearly 200 hectares. The quincunx of towers rising 65 m from the ground. Water moat surrounding the temple has a perimeter of 5.5 km.

Take several days. If you only have one day, it’s a must to visit Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

Angkor Temple Map

Angkor Temple map. Credit to Tourism Cambodia

We stayed at Mekong Angkor Palace (RM80 for a room inclusive of air-conditioning, wifi, hot shower, complimentary breakfast and pickup from bus station) and hired Mr. San Borin as our tuk-tuk driver who customised the day tour for us. San Borin’s price of $20 for a day was a steal for the four of us. You may contact him here, according to him the website was setup by a passenger who admires his friendly service.

Sunrise and Evening at Angkor 2

The best time to visit Angkor Wat is perhaps sunrise, the sun rises over the ancient temple.

He picked us before dawn, at 5 a.m., to shuttle us to the entry gate to buy the 1-Day ticket ($20) and came prepared with a cooler filled with bottles of ice-cold water to keep us hydrated and wet tissue.

Sunrise and Evening at Angkor 3

The Naga (a semi-deity, a serpent-god of the waters, depicted with several heads) greeted us at the entrance.

Pick up any guide book, read any online resources, any visitors recommendation on Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor, and your head will be spinning. Thankfully San Borin suggested us a route for us to conquer the significant sites and enjoy our day in Angkor.

The Angkor Wat Temple Complex for Sunrise
* Breakfast and a cup of Cambodian coffee

The “Great City” of Angkor Thom for Morning
(including Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Terrace of Elephants, and Preah Palilay)
* Water, cap, small change for donations

Thommanon, Chao Say Tevada, and Ta Prohm for the Afternoon
* Lunch break and beer, water

Angkor Wat again for the Evening
* Plastic raincoat and umbrella


Aerial view of Angkor Wat, showing the moat and causeway and the central tower surrounded by four smaller towers. Credit to Shutterstock @ Alexey Stiop.

Continue reading Sunrise and evening at Angkor Wat

In the rear view mirror of 2013

Most would have written a good old post of the memories of 2013 on the New Year’s Eve by now, but I was greeted with fever on the day itself thus just spending the hours before midnight struck snuggling in bed.

It’s funny how time passes and how we choose to keep track.

In 2013, most of the 365 days passed at a much different tempo. While life in Kuala Lumpur has been a constant records of highs and lows, my pilgrimage plan to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day was put off for some personal reasons, but overall life was great. Jaunts east and west in Peninsular Malaysia in search for islands and sandy beaches from the Straits of Malacca to the beautiful South China Sea. Managed to realise my travel plans to Indochina where tales and legends live.

In 2013, a friend invited me to join the church choir team which I accepted with an open heart. It has been a year in the choir and I have so much to gain than to lose, our choir master is a great teacher. In a year my singing has improved considerably and was given the opportunity to sing the gospel acclamation in mass. Last month, we sang for the Christmas mass and the reception was welcoming.

Christmas Choir

Family. We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

No man is an island. “Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods”, said the philosopher Aristotle. We live in a world where many of us have a lot of friends on Facebook or Twitter but yet we have lost human connection. Indeed I am truly thankful that I have my family and friends who are ever supportive and understanding, and fun to be with. But if you ask me personally, I prefer having few friends around rather than hanging out with a big bunch of friends. Having few friends allows me to put more value into each of those relationships. Also I’m never stuck having to juggle plans with multiple people. Just ask me out for coffee, I’m more than gladly to show up.

Continue reading In the rear view mirror of 2013