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Thread: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

  1. #21
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Short notes from forumers

    Malaysia
    Indonesia > Lombok
    Laos > The Northwest
    Myanmar (Burma)
    Taiwan
    Japan
    South Korea
    Nepal-Tibet
    India
    Kashmir
    East Turkistan
    Manchuria
    Austria, Czech, Slovakia

    Further travellogues can also be found in various blogs and a local travelling forum at sgtraveller. However, i find value in keeping some contributions directly relating to photographic interest by locations. Do share, i can't emphasize more. I can't possibly scavenge all around on my own to complete the picture.

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 01:03 AM.

  2. #22
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Malaysia

    From Guni_hoon

    maps for self drive in malaysia using GPS. u may need a GPS software to start with.
    http://www.malsingmaps.com/forum/index.php
    Last edited by zoossh; 12th June 2007 at 12:34 AM.

  3. #23
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Indonesia, Bali
    From babykailan

    1. kuta beach - perhaps the most famous and actually the most boring.
    2. jimbaran beach - you can try taking the sunset there but it is ill-advised to have dinner because the food sucks and it is a rip off.
    3. uluwatu - temple. beware of monkeys
    4. tanah lot - temple. go up the sunset terrace on the steps to the left of the main gateway and appreciate the sunset there. do not have to sit on the chair or order drinks. unless you want to.
    5. ubud - lots of culture and arts
    6. bedugul, danau bratan, danau batur - highlands. cool breezes, average scenery. batur is the volcano with a lake. bratan is the temple but the area is usually cloudy. both are very difficult to shoot in mid day.
    7. lovina beach - did not go there but heard about the black sands.
    8. sanur, nusa dua - more beaches. but less crowded and less commercial. can check it out if you lurrrrve beaches.
    9. legian / seminyak - shopping, eating, be-merry streets.
    10. tegalalang, tabanan, etc - rice fields / padi terraces.


    Indonesia, Lombok
    As quoted from redoxsim in this thread

    1. Country, Area, Places you visited
    Lombok, Indonesia
    Gunung Rinjani.

    2. Photo opportunities
    Many have described Lombok as a more laidback and less crowded Bali, with opportunities for portrait photography. Deserted beaches with coconut trees lining the beaches all over the island. Fishermen at work.

    To me, the real gem is Gunung Rinjani (Mount Rinjani). Besides Mount Kinabalu (which you have to share with hundreds of other climbers every day), I can't think of another mountain that is so near to Singapore, yet offers such spectacularly dramatic views. It has a recently formed (in geological terms) mini-volcano within the main volcano crater lake.

    En route up to the summit of the mountain (actually a still active volcano), the jungle is occasionally shrouded in mist, making for interesting photos.


    3. Recommended period of visit (if you know)
    My Lonely Planet recommended the dry season (June - October) if you would like to climb the volcano. I would suggest considering making use of National Day hols.


    4. Travel tips and warnings (accomodation, transport, safety, socket types, weather)
    As it's not as well known as Bali, Lombok can offer beach resorts accomodation at rather bargain prices. Do some research.

    Climbing Rinjani requires a certain level of fitness. If you are able to summit Kinabalu, Rinjani should be alright. You will need at least two days to trek up to the summit and back down again. If you want to go all the way and climb into the crater lake, it will require four days at least (recommended if you can spare the time).

    5. How to get there
    Silkair flies direct to Lombok.


    6. Link to your gallery, whether it is in cs or outside.




    I regret not having a camera with a wide angle lens. Wasn't able to capture the grandeur of the entire crater. Also wasn't aware of photostitch technology then. Doubt I will ever climb all the way up again. As you can see from the photo, the mini-volcano is still partially shrouded in shadow as the climb to the top of the volcano is typically timed for early morning (to catch the sunrise). It will be a challenge to snap the mini-volcano at a good time from a good vantage view (considering you will be rather fatigued from the climb and extremely cold from the high altitude).



    Indonesia, Mount Bromo

    Itinerary from Guni_hoon's friend

    Itinerary :

    Day 01 – Start from Surabaya to Tumpang, Malang with air conditioning vehicle, we will take you to the base of the Highland of East Java. From Tumpang you will have bumpy ride with 4WD jeep or using farmer's lorry to the gate of Semeru National Park at a lovely village called Ranu Pane. Arrived about late afternoon then you will have a rest at Pondok Pendaki or Hiker's Hut. Prepare your stamina for tomorrow's trekking.
    Alternatively you can stretch your legs for soft trekking to surrounding village of Ranu Pane and Ranu Regulo Lake not far from Hiker's Hut.

    Day 02 - This day will start early as we want all member arrive in Kalimati or Arcapada before sun down. We will hike in good pace while enjoying view of Mt Argopuro. Sometime you will spot the big smoke erupted from Mt Semeru in every 20 minutes or so. Hopefully all the member will arrive in Ranu Kumbolo in afternoon, then having lunch and short break.
    Our journey continue to Kalimati (Dead River) with passing vast field of savannah just about the feet of Mt Semeru. Here you will stay in a camp, having resting to prepare summit attack in the midnight. As the climbing will take tool of energy we suggest you to have a good sleep.


    Day 03 - In the dark you will start climbing on rough ground, steep hike about an hour to Arcapada. You have to be careful due the landslide common happen in these area, so make sure that you have a strong torch to light your path. The route to the summit quite straightforward, in the sandy loose ground will again test your stamina. Prepare to slide down when you try to go up. Having trekking poles will be valuable to help you balances with the movement. Most people reach the summit about 3 hours, but it depends on everybody's ability to keep going. It's been advised by National Park to decent the summit before mid day due the gas produces by continuing smokes of Mt Semeru.

    Reaching the summit (Mahameru) you will enjoy the view of the major part of East Java. You will stand in the highest mountain in Java. You have to see the small-scale eruption every 20 minutes full of smokes and stones. So enjoy your achievement today, you've deserved it but mind do not too close to the crater as the Mt Semeru is an active volcano.
    Then we descend from summit back to Kalimati (camp) to have breakfast and to rest for a long morning trek. After breakfast we will continue to Ranu Kumbolo and stay here to enjoy view of beautiful lake. Don't miss a change to see sunrise by the lake of Ranu Kumbolo.

    Day 04 - After breakfast you will back trekking to Ranu Pane village. We will take you to the different route as we started three days ago. We'll choose Ayak-ayak route to let you explore more the tropical jungle in the foot of Mt Semeru. Arrived in Ranu Pane you need to rest before another trip to Mt Bromo. Then check into local accommodation provided by locals around Mt Bromo.

    Day 05 - Early morning we will take you to see the spectacular sunrise from Mt Penanjakan with 4WD jeep. You will enjoy the magnificent view of Mt Semeru and Mt Bromo from the summit of Mt Penanjakan.Then we will drive you through vast of sandy area (lautan pasir = ocean of sands) across to go to summit of Mt Bromo. It is a concrete well mark steps to the edges of great crater. From here you can see the ocean beach and viewing the Hindu's temple held by Tengger Tribe from Bromo. Then we will take you back to Surabaya heading Juanda Airport back to Jakarta or any other destination.


    Another post from Guni_hoon

    Hi, another itin from another friend who went in 2003. nt sure if mt bromo is same as semeru and whether the contact listed is still valid. I cannot give advice as i have not been there. but it will be in my list of montains to go

    ************************

    fly to Surabaya by Garuda(return trip incl. 1 way airport tax of S$15) cost S$370
    private taxi to Malang per taxi S$40(~110 km journey)
    Rest house at Enny's Guest House(2 pax per room ~S$20, 3 pax per room ~S$40 per room) address 1A-1B Jln Taman Wilis(tel: 0341-551369; fax: 0341-552801) this place is Dutch national operated, rates incl. breakfast; contact person "Pak Weni" at hp 081-330704182
    for S$500(before bargaining), Weni will arrange 4 wheel drive(6-7 seater) to Ranu-pani(Semeru base, 50km away)(rest house available here, but very "ulu", with chickens, sheep and cows walking around), 3 guides/porters, tent, rubber mats, gas stove, Maggi mee and basic beverages. Bring own Bark Kwa and Remy Martin if required.
    Ranu-pani to Semeru summit is 18 km each way(~10 hrs trek). Camp at Kalimanti(4.5 hrs from summit) or Arcopodo, 3.5 hrs from summit)(summit start time will be at 0100 or 0200 hrs, sunrise at 0515 hrs). Therma wear mandatory as temperatures are at minus 10 degrees C(~ 5 degrees C at summit)
    panoramic view of at least 5 surrounding mountains incl. Bromo, Kawi, Arjuno, Argopuro(betwwen 2600-3500m) and Seremu's very own shadow !
    to summit in morning period only as Semeru is live, blowing smoke and steam every 10 mins or so from ~ 50 m away. This phenomenon is visible on the way from Malang to Ranu-pani
    Surabaya delights - red light area, Teochew porridge, Giant Supermart, Kentucky, DBS, Macdonalds' etc
    Malang delights - Mentari restaurant(Avocado drink), live music, coconuts and supermart
    S'pore-Surabaya is ~ 2 hrs flight. From Surabaya to Malang, there are also bus and train services.

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 10th August 2007 at 01:52 AM.

  4. #24
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Laos

    A) what to expect about the cost.
    as cheap as SEA can get. we spent about S$600-800 each for 15 days excluding flight and transitting thailand. bring at least S$500 worth. accomodation budget average US$3-8 per pax per nite, food also about the same. tut tut variable US$0.50 to US$1 per pax. long distance bus about US$1-4 per pax.

    B) how to get currency exchange
    they accept baht, khip (laos money), US$. exchange rate is roughly 1US$ = 10000khip = 40 baht
    can change from US$ to khip at the border, but you can't get it changed in bangkok or other part of thailand. always have some khip for small change and the rare situations that they dun accept US$/baht.

    C) how to enter Laos
    via land: south from nongkhai/udon thani to vientianne, north from chiang rai/chiang khong to huay xai,
    via air: from bangkok

    D) visa needed?
    singaporeans, less than 14 days in Laos, no need, just fill up arrival/departure card at the border with your passport

    E) transport within Laos
    via land: mainly buses/vans/modified lorries, sometimes tut tut for very short distances but no train
    via air: not sure.
    via water: boat. take the slower one for safety purposes
    factor in transport time in Laos, a small distance without train and with slow speed vehicles can take from 3-10hrs and that can easily take a whole effective day depending on the bus schedule (mainly in the morning, and some places latest by 3pm as they dun travel when or after sun set)

    F) power adapter
    while a number of socket types was mentioned to us, so far we only see the socket for euro pin type, ie. your usual 2 round pins with a flat base. bring an extension cord if you need to charge 2 or more devices.

    G) communicability?
    autoroam works in the major towns in the north, not sure about south. few internet services of variable speed available where tourists are.

    H) safe or not?
    common safety precautions are universal. but so far life seem simple there and we didn't get very disturbing experience as yet.

    I) special diet required?
    if dun take beef, pork or meat, as long as they understand simple english, should not be a problem at tourist places. ppl wanting halal certified food will be difficult to find (but no pork is usually not an issue). buddhist vegetarians who dun take onions and garlic should learn this "bo au ger tiam, bo au wao hom yai" but suggest you just print a picture of both and show them.

    J) photographic opportunities?
    depends on what you like. little to expect with regards to differences to other indochinese countries. lots of temples, portraits, villages, streets.


    Updates from tan131
    okie, i think i need to add to this thread. I am in Laos now, but unfortunately something terrible happened. My I was robbed through the window when asleep at night in the guest house. Insider job or outside ppl I do not know. Things were placed in the middle of the room far away from the window but the bugger used a pole like device to hook things out. Do NOT trust that the guesthouse may be locked or whatsoever. I dunno where's safe to place things when things like that can happened. Lost more then $1.5k in cash and valuables But what pissed me off is not the crime. Whatever happened has happened. Its the police report....

    Went to the station (Lauprabang tourist police beside the tourist bureau) the police soon came to the guesthouse. Found the pole like device and claimed it was too short to reach.. had to explain to him that the person stretched his hand in (they should realli watch CSI!!) went back to station and request that they search 2nd market cos of ipod or money changer cos of Sing dollar which is not common.. claim they can't... fine... asked for copy of report to claim insurance.. they said i cannot indicate cash lost.. said i had a choice.. file report which they said they will investigate but cannot indicate cash.. or file a sheet which i can keep but they will not endorse..and best of all they will NOT investigate... i wonder whats the police for then?! before i sign the report.. said i remember something else stolen and wanted to add... they claimed cannot change!!! WTF!! Lastly, they made me sign a form saying i had taken the report and they will not investigate!! WTF!!

    The place is good but this experience has left a super sour taste in my mouth.. if there are Laotian ppl here, i apologise first but the police force sucks n I dun think I will ever return to the country.. this is barely a week into my trip and I have 2 weeks more to go.. am disgusted, broke and pissed....one word of advice.. check the laws of the country to know what kind of protection u are having as tourists...


    .

  5. #25
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Myanmar (Burma)
    From Shuttergraphy

    From this gallery.

    Firstly, Mingalabar!

    Where, When And What?

    Resources. - My trip to Myanmar nearly ended before it began, Visa! Or the lack of it (misinformed). So, upon second asking i find myself in a country that i knew little of, other than pictures add the mystery of little communication with outside world. Cool! But I need to get my itinerary firmed up fast, as local agencies refuse to discuss details until i'm in the country. So i rushed myself to Exotissimo having had prior interaction to fix up my forthnight here (pretty much how tourism is run here, but careful which agencies you go to) with my standard LP guide plus further information from other photographic trips to Myanmar by different organisations.

    General costs. So after about 3 hours of discussion, i reached an itinerary with flights (Yangon-Heho-Mandalay-Bagan-Yangon), some accomodation and some transportation (only for key locations) and one day trekking with homestay for about USD600+ which was less than expectation, GREAT! Things are much cheaper when you go through these agencies, internal flights (USD250+) and even hotel rates (verified by a lady who ran a hotel). The rates i managed to conclude were airconditioned car for long distance @ USD90, guides @ USD25 and boat @ USD50 all based on per day rate (rates in LP seemed dated).

    General impression. The BIG4, all with different offerings were a common tourist pilgrimage in the abovementioned order, as some faces in domestic airports were begining to look familiar. The presence of the well publicised junta (especially for their treatment of Aug San Suu Kyi) is almost never felt but any politically inclined conversation would draw cold sweat from the locals as there is talks of spies among the population. Really, it shouldn't really bother you. Religion (buddism mainly) seem to hold together the country quite well, rendering it a rather safe place to travel similar to Thailand I would say, but you would encounter more monks here (many more).

    Help the locals. Make an attempt to avoid government run establishments with special interest given to minority while you're in Myanmar in adopting a spread the wealth mentality. Its Aung San wish that we do not support the junta, so it's a good idea to try to opt for services from local minority so you get as much of your money to the average burmese instead of going to the pockets of the junta. Otherwise, bargain hard for the overall price but be generous with tips for the locals. I liked my horse cart driver very much in Bagan. Lonely Planet does a good job of identifying which are more junta run establishment. By all means, i think more people should visit Myanmar, its such a photogenic place but more importantly the people are so friendly too.



    What To Expect

    Inle Lake or Heho (Landscape, People, Waterscape?) : is THE most amazing lake around this region, bar none. Shallow waters (less than 5m) coupled with vast open lake (22km by 11km at 900m above sea), encourages a lifestyle for the 'lake' people who build their livelihood on the water with houses on stilts, vegetables grown over floating gardens and fishing; inadvertently creating the legendary 'kick-row' fisherman. If you aren't succumbed to these then plunk yourself at a resort IN the placid lake surrounded by contrasting hilly peaks, you're greeted in the morning with scenes straight out of Lake House. Ces't magnifique!!! Around Inle is not too bad too, as you encounter farmlands that are grown with a myriad of colorful plantations that makes really makes for much good subjects if you have the time, i also particular like the nearby Pindaya Caves. There were thousands of buddha figurine of various sizes lining up a maze within this impressive cave. Fisheye would do well here. Expect local tribes deck in traditional costumes (vibrant, perhaps a lesser Sapa), floating markets (or any market for that matter around the lake), mystical-kinda atmosphere due to the fog, entire lifestyle unique to a HUGE community living on water, really placid lake (think reflection if you're on a stable base), nice undulating hilly peaks and much more. I highly recommend staying AT the lake which would cost more but I stayed at a local Pak-O hotel (one of the locations i did not pre-book a hotel) called Golden Island Cottages 1 (near Nampan) at something like USD35 per night, which was way past my typical budget but it was all worth while (given my circumstances of being on the lake for less than 2 days, i wanted to minimise my travelling time). I'd recommend you'd do the same because not all resorts are equal (based on what i saw), and the photography you get just around the resort is awesome plus the lake look completely different in the mornings and late evenings as compared to mid-day. Did I mention that I was greeted by a group of five percussionist upon arrival (rather 200m out till arrival)? My first personal fanfare!!! Nyaung Shwe (the launchpad of this region) looks quite sad to me, and no, you can't see anything other than a river from there. You need to take a boat to get anywhere around in Inle so you should do well to hire a boat on per day basis, if i stayed longer than I would have considered the rowing boats. It's amazing how they stay precariously balanced at the tip of their boats. You get to visit cheroot making factory (just 8-12 people), silk weaving, carpentry, metallurgy and silverware...(shopping is a good idea here), more monasteries with few worth mentioning would be Jumping Cat Monastery, Shwe In Thein and Thaung Tho Kyaung (more so because i was visiting the day market then). Again, because of the lack of time i decided to hire a guide in the full day i was at Inle (Treasure from GIC1) Shan State is generally cool. Overall, i would personally rate Inle as THE reason to head to Myanmar for a relaxing holiday (romantic even) but also for photography. The long drive from Heho to Inle is quite scenic too (so take your time) while i would recommend 2 full cycles of sunrise / sunset around Inle.

    Mandalay (Landscape, Street, People, Culture) : Laid back second most important city in Myanmar which used to be city of bicycles but now city of motorcycles, with lots of street (structured based on specialty e.g. eletronics lane sells main elecotrnics) photography on offer and most monks i've seen in a city. Wha'ts on offer in Mandalay is some of the older payas including the most worshipped Mahamuni (which comes with it beautifully dressed initiation procession in the mornings), teakwood monastery Shwe In Bin Kyaung with it's lethargic mood displaying it's eroded intricate splendour that comes to life during good lighting, further rustic aura of an old town planned to perfection centred around the Mandalay Palace intermitted with varied payas of different offerings in terms of architecture and one of the best cultural show I 've ever seen; Mandalay Marrionettes would puppets would transfix you with their lifelike graceful movements with traditional stories of Myanmar (the alchemist). An absolute MUST!!!
    Around Mandalay would really be the main draw of city, also lots of people opt to fly into Mandalay then take a cruise down south to Bagan. Typically, a rental of car for a full day tour around Mandalay is the order of the day with visits to Amarapura, Inwa and Sagaing with only timing to take note of would be to be at Maha Ganayon Kyaung at about 10am to witness hundreds of monks lining up for their morning 'silent' meals and being at sunset at the U-Bein's bridge for another classic shots. I did that in that order but spent a little bit more time at Sagaing, then rushed through Inwa (should consider skipping if short of time, not so if you aren't going Bagan) to get only my final hour half at U-Bein bridge. Finally (on another day), take a ferry to Mingun which not only gives you the experience of travelling through the Ayeyarwady river (and some exposure to river life) but also what was supposed to be the largest paya in Myanmar (though it wasn't finished). I'd think anywhere between 2-3 days around blitzing around Mandalay would suffice. I attempted to reconnect with civilization at this juncture, but despite using tunneling softwares to try getting past a blockade of most foreign sites, i only managed to load up my login page after 15mins. Needless to say, forget about outside world... just lose yourself in Myanmar for two weeks.

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 01:41 PM.

  6. #26
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Myanmar (Burma)
    From Shuttergraphy


    Bagan (Landscape, Culture) : The plains of Bagan is often drawn into comparison with Siem Reap as two of the most stunning religious archeological site in this region, my anti-climatic conclusion would be that both are great in it's own way but certainly Bagan have suffered quite abit from numerous invasions and earthquakes. Bagan is massive, definitely a treasure trove waiting to be explore with thousdands of payas, pagodas and stupas; but most people forget the very plains themselves though hot (dusty too) can provide really nice backdrop for photography compared to the rather tighter setup at Siem Reap. Aung Nan and his horse-cart (USD12+ non-peak) was my ride for most parts of 3+ days i was in Bagan (cheap, good and reliable) while I decided to split my accomodation. Spent 2 days in Nyaung U (Ngaung U Thande) where most of the good food were located plus all the rest of the hotels and another 2 days at Old Bagan (Bagan Thande) which is closer to the key Pahto but saw a couple of things over the internet that convinced me of views of the Ayeyarwady too. Ironically, monks are few and far between but some 'professional' cheroot smoking ladies at Shwezigon Paya for photography. Plenty of subjects every turn you take so difficult to go wrong. You would do well however, to take note that the very definition of sunrise/sunset platform means that people would stand there to observe the sun. Not very useful for photographers undoubtedly but would give you guidelines of how to position yourself to get iconic silhouttes during sunset. I, even guided with compass and various maps, did not have much success with these silhouttes. During my time in Bagan, the sun just disappears a good distance off the horizon presumably due to dust clouds. The one thing I was looking forward to in Bagan would leave me still wanting, architectural details e.g. intricate stone carvings or statues were lacking (this is where the earthquake might have done Bagan) as murals were dissapointing. Bagan is worth about 3 days because of it's vastness.


    Yangon (Street, Culture) : Did I say structured mess? For someone who would like street photography, Yangon would be a heaven as there are lots of happenings around the streets and very easy for people not to notice you. I am one of those that seem to have a general ASEAN look that seem to ensure blending in with the locals, however, wearing sarongs (or they call it longyi) is not something I would do (more so because the lack of multiple pockets). How does a massage given by a guy in a skirt sound to you? Me too. It's a rather packed city with quite a number of religious buildings (including a synagogue) with the only problematic area is the Aung San Bogyoke junction where touts roam about. I suspect it would be a great shopping place as well as some of the dresses worn by local girls look quite saucy. Obviously, I only use Yangon as a platform to travel into the country as I am not a street person, but did walk about to do some window shopping. If you take time to explore Yangon, the blend of architecture is still very collonial British but mixed with local influence i suppose so... it's a nice blend that you get abit of in Singapore. Imagine is Raffles Hotel is talked about here then there are lots of buildings like that there, without the class of course.

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:47 AM.

  7. #27
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Myanmar (Burma)
    From Shuttergraphy


    What To Prepare

    Photographic Equipment : You'll spend quite abit of travel time so do bring reading materials, but unless you are doing trekking most parts of the trip can be accomplished quite easily with standard shooting practice within Singapore (i had a CompuTrekker backpack). Loose gears (such as tripod) are fine too as I trusted my driver, boatman, guide or horse cart driver to look after them for me. Bring a fast lens (f1.4 or so) would be a good idea because lots of street opportunity (and people are relatively friendly, so get 'Capa'ing) but more so the details you'll get throughout Myanmar. Ultra-Wide (12-24mm) is important simply because they have really massive structures there, when you get to Bagan the number of HUGE complex you see is unbelievable, everwyhere. Otherwise, most pictures is sufficiently covered by the 18-200mm range with more towards shorter zoom. It can get either haze at Inle or dusty at Bagan (in fact, most other places) so do bring along a UV filter to hopefully get slightly clearer pictures which also means, bring equipment to clean your lens and filters. If it gets too dusty, take off your polarizer as the effect is minimised under such circumstances. Certain places can get your photographs burned onto CD (e.g. Bagan) if you get desperate with memory because there are ALOT of pictures to be taken at Myanmar. I experimented with off-camera flash to light up statues etc only to realised that there weren't too many statues in Bagan but otherwise, barely used my flash as i prefer natural lighting e.g. puppets.

    Other Equipment : A guide books and printouts are important as there are simply ALOT of similar things to see in Myanmar, so you need to get to the exact places when required, at the right time. A compass is necessary in Bagan, because it's just a massive plain that you do need to have a good sense of direction. Each horse-cart would comfortably sit two pple, for me alone... very comfortable. Hot! Hot Bagan! During the time i went anyway (better in DEC-JAN), that I did drink alot of fluid there and finish the 3-4 Hydralyte i brought there (recommend you'd do the same). Bring sunblocks (or use the local thanakha) while prepare for the heat as much as possible e.g. caps or stay nearer so can retreat during noon. It does however, get really cold around in Shan State (Inle) especially if you go trekking into the highlands (i only had a long sleeve t-shirt to endure 6°C at night) so don't think Myanmar is all hot. One thing you have to take into considertion is the need to take off your footwear in most compounds, some of them even on dirt path so some might prefer sandals but i still wore shoes (and dark colored sports socks) as I find it useful to sometimes bash thru bushes (especially in Bagan). You however, do not really need to wear long pants all the time even into the payas.

    What Else?

    Forget about your credit cards, phones or laptops as it's quite a deadzone; just bring USD then forget bout the rest of the world for a while. Myanmar to be is kinda mystical because there is just so much we do not know bout it but when you're there, you just feel so safe and serene that it's unbelievable there aren't more tourist there. You could spend more time visiting the minority tribes (long-necked Padouin) but it's under government regulation with extra cash involved. You do get to meet lots more 'adventurous' tourist in Myanmar, if they aren't they wouldn't go there but that makes them more fun people. However, there isn't much of a nightlife in Myanmar. DO NOT even attempt to change 'kyat' (local currency) before you get there as the official currency is really ridiculous, the black market rates there is a few hundred times better at least. USD is widely accepted (but not a certain serial no) while the old FEC is no longer in circulation.

    It's an easy country to visit, very safe too and reasonably (low even) priced. I think you'll hear how eager they are to speak to foreigners, I have definitely experienced that as well thus I do think it's fine to visit the country (depsite Aung San's stance) but by all means try to 'spread the wealth' by avoiding the more expensive government-run establishments.
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:47 AM.

  8. #28
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Taiwan


    A) power adapter
    2 flat parallel pin. US-Japan types.

    B) is it easy to travel to remote areas on your own?
    in general, travelling along the trains are not difficult. basically taiwan is like peninsular malaysia and have the mountain range like a spine on the back, hence the train loops like a oval around the island, divided mainly into the eastern side and the western side linked up by the northern and the southern loop. internal flights cost about S$100. long distance trains cost about half of that. going up mountains will not be that easy as taiwan does not seem to tailor for backpacking practices for foreigners. does not suggest renting cars as accidents may happened for difficult mountain roads. even with lobangs, taxi will be expensive for these places. however, determined guys without time constraint and without tight budgets can still overcome this problem if you can speak some mandarin. and yes, those locals who do not speak mandarin or speak more taiwanese (taiwanese hokkien) will understand mandarin.

    C) topics to avoid talking with a Taiwanese
    political issues and cultural identity. they always have the opinion of singaporeans being too nosey into chinese-taiwanese relationship and can have a love-hatred feeling about it. in general, a mandarin speaking person is more likely to be blue whereas a taiwanese speaking person is more likely to be green, but to avoid it is the best and the safest, especially when we can only hear half side of the story in singapore, and yes, even with the cable channels.

    D) what is worth exploring off the usual places other singaporeans goes?
    near taipei: yangmingshan,
    scenic places: the eastern coasts and the central mountaineous areas.
    the essence, 3 standard places that japanese likes to visits - tarogo gouge, riyue tan, alishan
    my personal recommendation: cchengkeng farm aka qingjing or ching jing (however very difficult to travel to as a foreigner, public transport requires at least 2 coaches between taichung to puli and puli to that place at hard to catch timing, most locals drove there) you can search in chinese the information here.

    More inputs from Guni_hoon
    "btw, I have just been to Taiwan. Ching Jing farmstay is between Taroko Gorge and Puli, its location I considered in the middle of Taiwan and not readily accessible by train. We drove."

    "link to taiwan maps/road directory.
    http://www.urmap.com/

    2 places I watched sunrises in Taiwan, at
    1. Alishan Zhu Shan (祝山) - can take the local train in Alishan, or
    2. Tataka 塔塔加 at road landmark 140km. i heard it is a new place."

    Farms in Taiwan
    article

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 4th August 2007 at 11:52 PM.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Japan


    From Malcolmneo


    Firstly before you embark on the programme, you need to look at the transport system, getting the detail and cost. Then you can plan properly considering the time required for commute etc.

    You should start by studying the train system of the places you are going. For Hokkaido, it is JR Hokkaido.

    Then to check the connecting train from one place to another, you can use this web service. Just enter the train station you are leaving, the time, and the station you want to arrive, and it will show you all the coonecting trains, time taken, transit time, and the prices.

    http://www.hyperdia.com/hyperWeb/

    If you are spending about 7 days, you can get the JR pass at 28,800yen from JAL office here. Then when you reach japan, convert the pass at any major train station. Remember to specify effective from which day when converting. Don't worry about language as there will be japanese staff who speak english there. If you reach Japan in afternoon, probably not worth it to start effective that day. Get hold of the JR map and know all the nearby train station of the attractions that you are visiting. And according to ur liking, enter the details into the hyperdia website to know the connection train and total time taken to transit. Print out the details of your preferred train schedule for whole trip and just submit to the train ticket booking counter and all the tickets will be issued to you one shot. You can put the tickets for each day in individual small envelope available FOC there. One thing to note is that the timing listed in hyperdia is most accurate so very sure to be punctual. To enter station names into hyperdia, you

    After transport, next thing is accomodation. A good site is this:
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/en/

    Just specify the day and place you are visiting. You just need to enter VISA credit card number for reference. You wil not be charged through the card beforehand. When making payment, you can pay cash or credit card. Look out for discount as japan hotel always got some promotion if you look hard enough to sniff out bargains. Some are special for monday only, or for continuous stay, etc.

    Hope this is helpful. Be sure to spend alot of time to plan to make ur trip worthwhile. Remeber not be shy. Anything just ask as nowadays many jap speak simple english.

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:34 AM.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    South Korea


    A) what to expect about the cost.
    affordable non-exorbitant budget is possible if you learn some korean and get cheap motels, eat cheap food, walks and take tubes and no taxis, and do not go for expensive local tours/go skiiing resorts. i can't remember how things costs but with a budget travelling, spend about S$500-600 excluding flights and personal purchases (shopping) for about 6 days.

    B) power adapter
    can't remember. refer http://kropla.com/electric2.htm

    C) communicability?
    CDMA network like Japan, not sure about now. language difficulty worse than Japan.

    D) safe or not?
    very safe. and they are not as "rude" as something may tell you, but just understand that certain behaviours are their cultural norm and are not meant to be rude to you.

    E) is their food hot?
    not always but very likely, even a mushroom pot can be spicy one. want something safe? go for those menu with a picture or simply eat other cuisine there.

    F) topics to avoid talking with a Korean
    avoid talks about historical conflicts or cultural influence/dominance by the Chinese, Japanese and americans. do not talk about eating dogs.

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:34 AM.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    Nepal-Tibet


    From Shuttergraphy

    Firstly, Namaste! Tapalai Katso Char?

    Where, When And What?

    Started in Kathmandu, then a drive to Pokhara to trek around Poon Hill, back on flight to Kathmandu in Jan 2007 for about 10 days. Poon Hill is a common trek that is perhaps the most basic trekking that involves about 4-5 days but with spectacular views, details can be found inside of Lonely Planet as well but I went with Mountain Monarch (highly recommended) which provided more or less everything we needed from start to end for rather reasonable prices (but i went in low season). It was just myself and my sister but it included a sherpa, guide and a porter, great for photographers who want their own time etc but also possible to do alone (peak period, they would bunch people together); my guides are quite fun too, good way to learn the language and other things Nepalese or Hinduism. Trekking is quite established in Nepal so it's best place to trek, plus the view is not bad and lots of options. Please check on political situation, Maoist rebels never harm anybody but sometimes causes inconvenience (i was looking forward to taking pictures of them with their AK47 but alas, they lay down their arms but still had my route from Kathmandu to Pokhara blocked by insurgents who burned a bus and would attacke any vehicle that would approach the bridge; however, they were very nice to tourist by forcing on local car to turn around to drive us into Pokhara after we walked quite abit)

    What To Expect

    Kathmandu (Street, Portrait, Architecture) : is a medieval-like old city packed with rather modern people with sometimes heavy traffic but old small roads. Lots of shopping with tremenduos amount of outdoor gears (mostly fake), some nepalese goods, even tibetan ones (you get more tibetan materials here than in Tibet tiself) and mountaineering books (saw Khoo Swee Ciao's book). The old architectures here are plenty but not well taken care of except for three Durbar Squares around the valley. However, they wear Nike and not too many traditional costumes, try to spend more time in the Durbar Square, Pashupatinath and Bodhnath (where you'd see the most of Tibetan people, and they are a character if you've not met them. i've been to Tibet so the people here are not too exhilirating) It can get very dusty, plus misty as well so expect creating those shots too. Each of the Durbar square specialises in particular traditional trade e.g. carvings, or silver or pottery so you can experience these at the right places, think its quite good for shopping too.

    Pokhara (Landscape) : has a more backpacking vibe that serves as a launching pad for trekking into the Annapurna regions. Sites around Pokhara are ok only but should also try the paragliding because they would also take you up Sarangkot which has the best view around the area. Minutes makes alot of difference to the scene here (or Annapurna) from pure whiteout to clear skies.

    Annapurna (Landscape, Portrait) : is quite massive with numerous options to go to. Easiest would be the one i took (Poon Hill) but i took the reverse direction from the regular route (Nayapul-Ghandruk-Tadapani) which is highly recommended. The TWO absolute best spots are near Ghorapani: one being Poon Hill itself and the other near Ghorapani (bout 1km) from Tadapani (those were where the clear pictures were taken from), otherwise its easy to see the mountains but difficult to get the full picture. Typically, the guest house would be located at good location, enough for you to get good shots but prepare for the cold.

    What To Prepare

    Photography Equipment: Tripod is almost a must, lighter the better because you can get pictures at random locations. Ultra-Wide (12-24mm) is useful for architecture but mostly i'm on my Wide zoom (17-55mm) for landscape, portrait shots while you'd be surprise how much Tele zoom (70-200mm) you'd be doing for landscapes and or course portrait. Polarizer (had other grad fitlers) is almost a must and the sun can get intense quickly, remember to stay 90 degree angle, also, I highly recommend flash for fill in for portrait (i did not take one along). I also saw a need of those bags that you'd put btw tripod legs to store all these things on the fly as I saw a Japanese Mamiya photographer had. Tripod bags in case it gets too inconvenient for you to carry with your camera, can pass to guide. Bag and the decision on what to bring is the biggest headache, I only had shoulder bags and a CompuTrekker so I splurge on DryZone Rover and boy was it great (and waterproof), i was carrying dSLR, 17-55mm, 70-200mm, another panaromic SLR (that is about 10kg) and fitlers etc with my 12-24mm stored carefully in my other bag. IMPORTANT to get bag with a good waist strap to ensure it rest on your waist rather than your shoulders, although its not the best solution for quick accessibility but you learn to adapt quickly. Power supply is available at most guest house but cannot be guranteed so have to ensure two days supply at least with sufficient memory space and the cold is NOT cold enough to cause your batteries problem. Watch for contrast between snow-capped mountains and everything else (e.g. portrait would definitely need flash to capture both details), highly recommend pictures in RAW and bracket (think the advancements of RAW manipulation is getting better by the month... I wouldn't be surprise cameras would have inbuilt HDR in future). Also, watch for reciprocal failure that seem to affect me quite abit with horrible color shifts, i.e. zoom into your pictures and not trust your histogram at these altitudes.

    Other Equipment: Bring a fitter YOU if possible because not only do you want to survive this trip but you also want to be able to last longer and move further to get into spots (often i explore further while my sister rested). Make sure you have necessary gears to keep you warm (not those from WinterWonderLand, which my sis did), buying there in Nepal isn't a bad idea but my agency also provided equipment for a free but i had most of mine. Goretex can be very useful because it's windproof yet breathable. I would recommend energy gels, bars (the food might be terrible), electrolyte rehydration solution e.g. Hydralyte (good for any trip from Unity Pharma), hand warmers (i hate wearing gloves for photography), compass / altitude capable watch (the ONLY watch I own is a Suunto X9i, it even has GPS) and lots of wipes. If you use porter then they would carry the larger bag while you carry a lighter one, need at least 1 litre of water with you (get Nalgene so you can sleep with hotwater in your sleeping bag). Mostly less than 2500m so no worries of AMS just dehydration without realising because you won't sweat.

    What Else?
    Can always try Mount Everest Base Camp which is a tougher trek for about 18 days including some acclimitisation but accessible from Tibet (another Base Camp) by car. In Annapurna, lots of options to go even deeper into Annapurna Base Camp (possible to rush within 9 days, according to another swiss girl on my flight there). Otherwise, the other side of Nepal is that they have sea-level lands as well, e.g. Chitwan National Park which jiven went to. Of course, you can always go up Everest... or try one of the Peak Climbing first.

    Fwah... lor sor... so pack for Nepal... and if you meet guide that shout 'Malaysia Boleh' then it would be my doing!!!


    Festival of Nepal: http://www.differenttreks.com/nepal/...ival_dates.php

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 14th January 2008 at 12:47 AM.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    India: short notes

    A) what to expect about the cost.
    spent about S$1200 for 9 days, which covers S$625 from Indian Airlines (via Mustafa Air, travel agency) including tax and about S$500-600 on miscellaneous, mainly on accomodation, transport and food.

    B) how to get currency exchange
    2 exchange agency at Mustafa. roughly S$1 to 30 rupee.

    C) visa needed?
    yes, get from embassy or via travel agency. paid about S$90 for that.
    Form for visa application

    D) transport
    domestic flight cost about US$100-150. other alternatives are private taxi/car, train and bus. choose train for slightly more comfort in space, but it may not be that easy either, e.g. looking for platform, checking on which train to board, knowing when to alight, and trains can be delayed and prolonged too. bus while more cramped may be more straightforward as they dun stop so frequently like some trains do.

    map of indian railway link, train travel in India, well, avoid asking me further on train travelling, till now i'm still confused between the various classes. i think this website will give you better details.

    i tried to look into their internet booking of railway, but in the end did not do so becos our itinerary is flexible. it is also very confusing. for those who dun mind the confusion, you may try this.

    http://www.indianrail.gov.in/stn_code.html
    key in place name to look for Station code.
    1 place may give different stations.

    http://www.indianrail.gov.in/src_dest_trns.html
    key in permutations of station code
    get the table

    found a gd website here

    E) power adapter
    get from mustafa. the wall socket fits either 2 round pin or 3 round pin type. 3 round pin plug has one 7mm earth and a pair of 5mm pins, while 2 round pin plug has a pair of 5mm pins without the earth. Wall sockets that fit the 3 pins one are tighter, while the 2 pins one are looser. the smaller euro-pin (2 round pin but smaller diameter) also works but is very loose.
    recommend get a 3 pin adapter as well as 2 pin adapter. that way, u can adapt more easily to either power sockets.

    F) safe or not?
    as expected, the places we travel are typical tourist traps - soft crimes; dishonest drivers and shop-owners are plentiful, although new delhi seems to be very much better, maybe becos of the affluence level. i would suggest reading into lonely planet before hand. touts have all sort of tricks up on their hand everyday, and it is simply too many to list here. reading up to have an idea is better. so that u will know how much u are overcharged and whether u are willing to pay for that. i would strongly recommend the others not to give in to dishonest behaviours as much as possible, so as not to encourage such trends. of cos, to avoid negative stereotyping extrapolation by others, i would like to share my experience at New Delhi Connaught Place KFC. i forgot to take some of the lens and rushed back 20mins later. I managed to retrieve them and are really thankful.

    G) hygiene concerns
    i'm not sure about how strong is my stomach, but so far we are ok. we took meat and is ok, although most meals are vegetarian due to inavailability of meat. probably becos of winter, we have hardly any mosquitoes (which even if present, dun bite me). however, we have still prepared anti-malaria pills, get lariam from guardian pharmacy. those with respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis or asthma, should remember to bring your ventolin puff, and others wil benefit from bringing a face mask.

    H) special precautions.
    taj mahal is closed on friday and does not allow bringing in of tripods, cellphones, food. and double check your bag again when retrieving. thefts occur even by the security who kept the bag for you. so if possible, avoid bringing them. other places also have similar restrictions, so double check before going. and also if they spoil your expensive equipments, you may have no way to turn to except to your own insurance cover.


    Sikkim official website
    Festivals Calender in Sikkim: (1), (2)
    KKCW's blog on Sikkim
    India's train: steven_ber
    Trekking in the Himalayas: Project Himalaya, My Himalaya

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 21st May 2008 at 12:20 PM.

  13. #33
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    As quoted from asterixsg in this thread

    East Turkestan aka Xinjiang

    1. Country, Area, Places you visited
    China, Xinjiang in July 2006
    Urumuqi, Wuchaicheng (also called Multi-colored bay), Buerjin, Kanas, Baihaba, Hemu, Wu'erhe (demon city), Sailimu Hu, Bayunbulukh Lake, Nalati grasslands...
    Xinjiang is quite a big province. You need a minimum of 2 weeks just to cover the northern part of Xinjiang. Kanas is almost at the northern tip of Xinjiang. (Baihaba is the village bordering Kazakhstan)

    2. Photo opportunities (best views, sunrise, sunset)
    Beautiful Landscapes, snow clad mountains, rivers, lakes, grasslands, glaciers
    Sunset at Wuchaicheng (sorry for the spelling...)
    Sunset at Buerjin by the river
    Sunset at Sailimu Hu
    Trek/Horse ride from Kanas to Hemu - the trek is a 2 day, horse ride is approx 10-12 hrs
    The Kanas - Hemu trek is considered one of the top ten treks in China.
    Extremely scenic. The best time to go is in Aug/Sep to capture the colors of autumn. It is said that a lot of Chinese photographers descend there toting their white lenses during that period. If you have time, you can still do the 2 day trek at a slower pace on horseback. Highly recommended.
    In Kanas county itself, walk along the Kanas river on the boardwalk. Very nice.
    Interesting rock formations in Wuerhe - the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was filmed here.
    Stay overnight in the tents in Sailimu Hu after all the day tourists leave.
    If into birding, plan to spend a day at Bayunbulukh lake - lots of migratory birds there (me ignorant).

    3. Recommended period of visit
    late Aug/early Sep to capture the colors of autumn
    June when the whole area of Kanas/Hemu is enveloped in blue flowers (dunno the name)

    4. Travel tips and warnings (accomodation, transport, safety, socket types, weather)

    Stayed mostly in backpackers accomodation. Max we paid was like RMB 80 for a night for a twin bedded room. Except in Kanas where its like a resort - paid something like RMB 200-250 per room (because not peak season). In high season, rates can go much higher.

    Food - quite cheap. Only in Kanas county, food can be expensive (its a restricted area). If you are on a budget, suggest you carry cup noodles, 3-in-1 coffee, biscuits, chocolates etc. (you can buy them in the nearest town from where you approach Kanas. In our case, it was Buerjin) Pork not available in most of the restaurants. Roast lamb is the speciality there.

    Felt quite safe in Xinjiang - though usual precaution to be exercised.

    Some places can be quite dusty. Try not to change lenses in the open - dust can get in. Weather can change suddenly too. Take care of your equipment. When not in use, wrap in double layers of ziploc bags. Preferably carry an all-weather camera bag.

    Best is to go in a group of 4-6 photographers. Get a van/car with a driver from Urumqi. Then you can plan your route and stop wherever you feel like. Excellent motorable roads.
    Xinjiang is a big state and distances are substantial. Plan to spend a lot of time on the road.

    Summers can be very long. Sunrise at 5 AM and sunset at 9:30 to 10:00 PM.
    Sleep less, shoot more. Or catch up on sleep while travelling in the van/car.

    Night markets in Urumuqi and Buerjin - quite interesting, cheap (and at times exotic) food.

    Not much information available on the internet in English. This website just gives you a little overview.
    http://www.xinjiang.gov.cn/1$002/1$002$002/354.jsp?articleid=2005-6-16-0012
    Not many books in our libraries that cover the northern park of Xinjiang. Most books focus on the Silk Route.
    Got a small book in English about Xinjiang, at the Urumuqi airport on my way back (yeah, on my way back). If someone wants to borrow, lemme know.

    5. Link to your gallery, whether it is in cs or outside.
    <will provide link later - haven't uploaded photos onto the internet...>

    6. How to get there ?
    Two options :
    1. Fly Singapore to Chengdu and from Chengdu to Urumuqi
    Flights were in the morning from Singapore, reach Chengdu in the afternoon. Leave Chengdu in the late evening, arrive at night in Urumuqi.
    Spend the whole day in travel. Not my preference.

    2. Fly Air China - Singapore to Beijing and from Beijing to Urumuqi
    Take the night flight from Singapore. Arrive Beijing early morning. Morning flight from Beijing to Urumuqi. Arrive Urumuqi by noon. Saves time. Preferred.

    Other alternatives are to fly via Shanghai and Guangzhou - but not too convenient timings when I travelled.[/size]

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:34 AM.

  14. #34
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    From AlexMoi

    Kashmir

    Airlines http://www.jetairways.com/ (only book this airline, they are the only reliable one in India)

    Travel Agency http://www.shanglootravels.com/
    Shangloo travels is own by the house boat owner's son.

    Kashmir Guide Name: Bilal
    Mobile number: +9199 0686 4678
    e-mail: mehran_bhat2@yahoo.co.in or bilalbhat_2@yahoo.co.in

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:33 AM.

  15. #35
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    From ilshfe

    Manchuria

    The ppl there are very kind, but it will be better if there is a guild from local, he can drive you go around. I believe the cost for the trip should be almost the same like go Thailand, even cheaper if you go to the countryside.

    if you are interested in landscapes you can go there between May-July to Chang bai shan (长白山). there are some instruction about Chang Bai Shan, but its in Chinese http://forum.xitek.com/showarchives.php?threadid=332622

    Ha er bin (哈尔滨)which is the capital of Hei long jiang(黑龙江) province also a very special city, some building have some Russian styles, and in winter there will be lots of event.
    http://forum.xitek.com/showarchives.php?threadid=347141

    A lot of fantastic sense you can see in winter

    雾凇, a very special sense in Ji Lin city from Ji Lin Province; pls note the following pictures were not taken by IR,
    http://www.bxxw.net/gx/xw59.htm
    http://www.photofans.cn/showthread.p...hreadid=298581

    if you r insterested in the culture there, go to the country side, the ppl there very simplehearted, kind and nice. b4 chinese new year there will be a very big gethered market in some countryside.
    http://forum.xitek.com/showthread.php?threadid=344960
    http://www.photofans.cn/showthread.p...hreadid=300350

    There are a lot amazing sense, for more information go to the following link.
    http://www.photofans.cn/showthread.p...4&pagenumber=1

    Do remember bring some cold protection gear for you equipments, in winter there should be around -20 to -35 degree, the shutter will be freezed if you dont take any protection.

    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:33 AM.

  16. #36
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Centralised thread for backpacking photographers (03)

    From henrylim

    Vienna, Bratislava, Salzburg, Cesky Krumlov, Prague

    Transport:The transport system is safe, and has spaces for strollers and wheelchair - it has less chair than Singapore but I think it is less "squeezed" than the 2-line seats on SMRT.

    Food: For the food, you can have bread, sausages, ham, cheese etc. But there are other cuisines too - jap, chinese, etc - just a bit more expensive and less in number, but it is good enough. In the worst case, there is always macdonalds.

    Self-drive: If you wish, you can self-drive around the place too. I drove about 3 days there. Just remember you drive on the right side of the road, unlike singapore where you drive on the left side - so right turn is a small circle, left turn is a larger circle of turning - very different from singapore road so must remember. Other than that, keep within the speed limit : 50km/h for town/city, 80 to 100km/h for open road and 130km/h on auto-bahn. I had the Volkswagon Touran - it is a pretty stable car on the auto-bahn - no problem handling it at all


    .
    Last edited by zoossh; 29th July 2007 at 12:33 AM.

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