The Forbidden City is an icon in Beijing. It was built from in 1406 – 1420 and it was the royal palace during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. With an astounding area of 7,800,000 sq feet and 980 buildings, a day touring around the Forbidden City will only give you the slightest understanding about the palace. Continue reading
When you see this Nine Dragon Screen, you have arrived at the Antiquarian (珍寶館) in the Forbidden City. The antiques and treasures were made by the imperial craftsmen using precious material like gold, silver, jade, pearls, and some were tributes from other countries during celebrations.
The Jingshan Park (景山公園) is just across the road from Forbidden City as you exit the North Gate of the Divine Might (神午門). The Pavilion of Royal Longevity (壽皇殿牌樓) that sits atop the hill is really worth the climb because it is a superb view-point that allows you to see all of Forbidden City under your eyes. You are most likely tired after exploring the enormous Forbidden City but bear with the tiredness and the view will be rewarding. Continue reading
The Summer Palace (頤和園 Yihe Yuan) in Beijing is one magnificent compound that was once the royalties’ holiday place. With an astonishing 720 acres of land, it is the world’s largest imperial landscape palace. Back in 1750, when Emperor Qianlong built the Summer Palace for his mother as an act of filial piety, the palace was known as the Garden of Clear Ripples (清漪園 Qingqi Yuan). Continue reading
Eating the Pecking Duck at Dadong (大董北京烤鸭) is more than the mere experience of savoring the duck. Everything in this restaurant is fancy – from the food presentation, dining environment to the menu, everything is a work of art. The best part is, the Jinbao branch that we went to，we could see the roasting process right in front of our eyes. Continue reading
The Tower of Buddhist Incense (佛香閣 Foxiang Ge) sits atop Longevity hill in the Summer Palace, overlooking Kunming Lake. Like a lot of historical sites in China, it went through cycles of construction and destruction. It was first built by Emperor Qianlong during the 1700’s, destroyed by the Anglo-French allied Forces in 1860 and rebuilt again during Emperor Guangxu’s reign (1875 – 1908). Continue reading
The Garden of Virtue & Harmony (德和園 Deheyuan) in the Summer Palace was where Empress Dowager Cixi watched Beijing opera shows. Empress Dowager had high demands for the shows and like everything else in the Summer Palace, an elaborate, majestic three-level stage known as The Great Stage (大戲樓 Daxilou) was built to perfection and it is the largest imperial stage in China. Continue reading
The Gaharu Tea Valley in Gopeng (務邊沉香園) has an impressive number of 200,000 gaharu trees. The gaharu trees also known as argawood, span through hundreds of acres of land with Ipoh’s beautiful limestone mountains as the backdrop.
The gaharu tree when infected with mold, produces resin as a defense mechanism, resulting in an aromatic dark wood within the trunk. The dark wood is s of high commercial and medicinal value, whether it’s to be extracted for essential oil, perfume, burnt as incense or used for sculpturing. If you look at the trees closer, you will observe a lot of tiny holes where the molds are injected through.
The gaharu has a beautiful Chinese name “沉香”, literally meaning “sinking aroma”. The grades of gaharu wood are classified by their ability to sink. The more resinous the wood is, the more precious it is and the heavier it is, resulting the wood to sink completely into the water or only semi-sinking if the wood is not heavy enough.
The tour to view around the plantation is RM10 per person (by van), which comes with a packet of gaharu tea and a small piece of kayu raja wood.
The driver cum tour guide first took us to see the panoramic views of the valley. It’s also where the remains of a 20 year old gaharu tree trunk is. Hugging it is supposed to bring you good luck! A hotel is being set up nearby.
Our tour guide is very knowledgeable, telling us stories about how the gaharu tea valley all began. 15 years ago, 200 baby gaharu trees were given to the owner by a Japanese man. When the Japanese man came back to visit again, there were only 30 gaharu trees left due to theft and it was only then the owner realized that the gaharu trees are so precious. The land was originally growing palm trees but the owner decided to pull out everything and plant the gaharu instead. Today, the gaharu valley is flourishing with precious trees with some of the older trees worth hundreds of thousands each.
The trees are colored with yellow, red or black bands, indicating how old they are.
Our guide also showed us this loving tree couple – the darker tree resembles a man courting the lady (white tree). You can see that tree branch is reaching out to the white tree, as if trying to lure her into his arms! Even the tree trunks are intertwined with each other!
At the base of the base of the valley, there’s a souvenir shop, selling gaharu products like gaharu tea, gaharu tea egg premix packs, bak kut teh herbal packs and even gaharu tea instant noodles! The gaharu tea is pretty pricey. My father tried the tea and he reckons that the tea helps him to sleep better.
Gaharu flavor is used in desserts too in herbal jelly and ice cream.
Gaharu sculptured items displayed in the souvenir shop.
This piece here is not for sale!
More gaharu trunks outside the souvenir shop.
The Gaharu Tea Valley sits within the forest areas of Gopeng. When you see this mini Great Wall of China, you have arrived at the main entrance 🙂
Gaharu Tea Valley Official Website
Address: Lot 9840, Mukim Sg Teja, 31600 Gopeng, Perak, Malaysia.
GPS : N 04°27’30.00″ E 101° 11’26.40″
Tel: 05 3511 999
Admission: RM 10 per person to tour around the valley.
Opening Hours: Daily 9am – 6pm.
- What is Gaharu Wood? (gaharuwoods.wordpress.com)
The tin dredge in Batu Gajah along Jalan Tanjung Tualang is the last witness to the prosperity of tin mining in Malaysia. Also known as Tanjung Tualang Dredge No 5 (TT5), this 4500 tonne giant floating on the excavation site is a precious remain that tells the history of Malaysia, and especially so for Perak, the home of many tin mines. “Perak” literally means silver in Malay, which was thought to resemble the silver color of tin. Continue reading
I first saw this lion dance mural during Chinese New Year this year and thought how wonderful it was that Ipoh is going to have its own mural street! The murals are located on a little lane off Jalan Dato Onn Jaafar, on the back walls of a row of shoplot.