Borobudur I was about to write a feature on Borobudur in Indonesia. The 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple ruins with stupas and statues in Magelang, Central Java, is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, and also considered one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world. With the historical landmark so near, I can see from my social media timeline, many Malaysians visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site, probably as a bucket list destination.
I started on this journey on Federal Route 1 on March 29. I have since covered Rawang, Serendah, Ulu Yam, Rasa, Kuala Kubu, Kerling, Kalumpang, Hulu Bernam, Tanjung Malim, Behrang, Slim River and many tiny places in between.
To tell the story, I visited quaint little towns, rustic villages and wandered through dusty roads and jungle trails. Camped in tents, stayed at dodgy 'rumah tumpangan' (lodging houses) but also at comfy hotels, chalets and motels. Met friendly and warm people from all walks of life.
The calming sight and soothing sounds of the river belie the ferocious battles that was fought beside it during the Second World War. The road outside was littered with casualties from the British Indian Army attempting to thwart the invasion.
It was on this road that invading Japanese tanks rumbled through in its drive to capture Singapore in the south. This was the old road going north or south until the tolled-Slim River highway was constructed in the 1960s.
At the Buddhist Maha Vihara Termple in Brickfields is a tent where hundreds of oil lamps are kept lit. It is a photographer's paradise.
Some newbie photographers think 'bokeh' is as simple as an out-of-focus background. It is more than that. It is how the lens render the out-of-focus point(s) of light in relation to the part that is in focus. There is an aesthetic and subjective quality that depend on the lens, aperture and distance.
Silhouette of a volunteer topping up the oil lamps. Love how the camera handled the colour balance of warm colors from the flames and cooler bluish daylight seeping through.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/125 sec.
What was supposed to be a 100 km journey for this stretch took more than 1000 km as recorded by my GPS and odometer. Every town or place on this route is like a treasure chest waiting to be discovered and opened.
The extended mileage was because of the multiple up-down trips back home and to various accommodation locations. There were also numerous detours and excursions to branch roads and such.
Sub-trips sometimes yield little for the camera but were still worthwhile for the additional info I gather from locals about the geography and history.
Met a Chinese family swimming in the river and they asked me where I am from. I told them KL and they asked: "How on earth did you manage to find this place?". They said even though they are locals, they got lost getting here the second time around.
Since it is a weekday, the place is almost deserted. I was told on crowded weekends, it is also visited by locals mostly. Nice that the locals have their own secret and very remote hideout for recreation and picnics. Maybe not (so secret) anymore.
The holes were located in a lonely but beautiful park in Serendah. Not sure if it was the threatening rain clouds or the mystery of the holes that made everything there very eerie.
Since the sink hole strainers are missing, do I dive into one of the 'rabbit holes' and will it take me to Wonderland? Apparently not; as further investigation revealed the water flowing into underground channels and released, like sewer, a little further down the cascaded river.
Not since Chamang Falls, have I seen a massive, roaring waterfall so accessible. One can literally drive to the edge of its drop pool. Unlike the one in Bentong, this Serandah drive-in waterfall is not far from the main road.
Photography Notes: Without ND filters and a tripod, I opted for the opposite end of the speed spectrum. Instead of using a slow shutter for a silky effect. I used a fast shutter to crystallise the droplets and spray.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 2500, f4, 1/8000 sec.