Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pasir Panjang Power Station "A" (28 Oct 2018)

Not exactly an "abandoned" building, but close enough as I have a special liking for old buildings. Had a chance to visit this beautiful place as part of the Street Superior Festival 2018.

The Pasir Panjang Power Station "A", the building was decommissioned in the early 1980s and returned to the government in 2017. It was Singapore's second power station, built between 1952 and 1953, after St James Power Station, and the ‘B’ station added adjacent to it in 1965.

More pictures: Pasir Panjang Power Station "A" (28 Oct 2018)

Monday, September 24, 2018

OWD at Tioman (21 - 23 Oct 2018)

5th teaching trip of 2018, 28th teaching trip, 8th SSI teaching trip.

Dive #1
Location: Soyak
Max depth: 8.1m
Bottom time: 8.1m (1225 - 1310)

Dive #2
Location: Soyak
Max depth: 6.3m
Bottom time: 50min (1448 - 1538)

Dive #3
Location: Pirate Reef
Max depth: 15m
Bottom time: 28min (1714 - 1742)

Dive #4
Location: Renggis (East)
Max depth: 9.8m
Bottom time: 35min (0935 - 1010)

Dive #5
Location: Renggis (West)
Max depth: 13.0m
Bottom time: 31min (1118 - 1149)

Mandatory Nasi Ayam

Idaman resort


Berjaya's jetty


Narcosis Burger

Hungry kitty

Turtle at Renggis

More pictures: OWD at Tioman (21 - 23 Oct 2018)

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Kazakhstan + Beijing (21 - 31 Aug 2018)


Tips for traveling to Kazakhstan

  • SIM card is relatively affordable. 2000₸ (SGD$7.37) is more than sufficient
  • Download Russian keyboard to you smartphone, then use online translation services during the trip
  • Download 2GIS for map that can perform search function offline. It also provides bus information which is better than Google maps
  • Bring USD
  • Bicycle is available in both Astana and Almaty. However, the path may not be very smooth and you may need to bring the bike up and down kerbs
  • Public transport are generally fixed rates regardless of distance (In Almaty, buses are 150₸ and metro 80₸, while in Astana, buses are 180₸)
  • Check the opening hours or operating hours of places of interest (e.g. Cable car at Shymbulak may close as early as 1630hrs)
  • You may want to consider pre-book tours for the following locations because they are quite a distance from Almaty. Last minute booking may not get you on tours which need min number of pax.
    • Big Almaty Lake, Большое Алматинское Озеро
    • Charyn Canyon National Park, Шарын мемлекеттік ұлттық табиғи паркі
    • Kaindy Lake, Каинды
    • Kolsai Lake, озеро Кольсай
  • For non-Singaporeans, you will need to take note of the special rule when entering Kazakhstan. Make sure you have 2 stamps on the immigration card. See also: 


Flight Details

International Flight from Singapore to Astana via Beijing using Air China

Air Itinerary Details

SIN - Singapore, Changi International Airport
Terminal 1
Tue, 21 Aug 2018, 09:00
Boeing 787-900

PEK - Beijing, Capital International Airport
Terminal 3
Tue, 21 Aug 2018, 15:20

Air China
CA 976
Flying Time: 

PEK - Beijing, Capital International Airport
Terminal 3
Thu, 21 Aug 2018, 17:15
Boeing 737 MAX 8
TSE - Astana, Astana International Airport
Thu, 21 Aug 2018, 21:00
Air China
CA 791
Flying Time: 
5hr and 45min
*Connection time:  1h55m

TSE - Astana, Astana International Airport
Thu, 30 Aug 2018, 22:30
Boeing 737 MAX 8
PEK - Beijing, Capital International Airport
Terminal 3
Fri, 31 Aug 2018, 05:30

Air China
CA 792
Flying Time: 5hr*Connection time:  18h40m
PEK - Beijing, Capital International Airport
Terminal 3
Sat, 1 Sep 2018, 00:10
Boeing 787-900
SIN - Singapore, Changi International Airport
Terminal 1
Sat, 1 Sep 2018, 06:30

Air China
CA 975
Flying Time: 
6hr 20min

Tickets Fare

Base Fare
Taxes and Fees
  • Surcharge (Carrier imposed MISC fee)
  • Airport Development Levy
  • Aviation Levy
  • Passenger Security Service Charge
  • Airport Fee
  • Passenger Sevice Charge
  • $184.80
  • $10.80
  • $6.10
  • $30.40
  • $36.80
  • $8.30
SGD $757.50


Domestic Flight from Astana to Almaty via SCAT Airline

DV-754 (Boeing 737-300): 23:05 - 00:30 (+1)

₸16,965 (SGD$63.43)


Day 1, 21 Aug 18 (Tue)

Prepare to take off

Transit via Beijing Capital International Airport 北京首都国际机场

Having the entire row to myself


Domestic flight - SCAT Airline (Boeing 737-300)


Day 2, 22 Aug 18 (Wed)

Kazakh-British Technical University Қазақcтан-Британ техникалык университеті

Zenkov's Cathedral Свято-Вознесенский Кафедральный собор

Park 28 Panfilovtsev. Парк 28 Панфиловцев.

Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments Музей народных музыкальных инструментов им. Ыхласа

Green Bazaar Орталық Көк Базар

Horse meat

Green Bazaar Орталық Көк Базар Almaty Алматы Kazakhstan Қазақстан - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA



Horse Milk

Almaty Central Mosque Центральная мечеть Алматы

Almaty Central Mosque Центральная мечеть Алматы Kazakhstan Қазақстан - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Almaty is also nicknamed as City of Apples

Abylai Khan monument Памятник Абылай Хану

Alma Ata 2 Railway station вокзал Алма-Ата-2

Token for Almaty Metro - Fixed rate at 80 Tenge (SGD$0.30) regardless of distance

Raiymbek batyr Metro station Райымбек батыр бекеті

Zhibek Zholy station Жібек Жолы

Almaly station Алмалы

Moskva Station Мәскеу

Alatau station Алатау

Auezov Theater station Мұхтар Әуезов атындағы театры

Long escalator

Independence Monument Тәуелсіздік монументі

Kok Tobe Cable Car: ₸2,000 (SGD$7.48)

Lamb Shashlik meal at Sololaki 6,500₸ (SGD$24.24)

Almaty Television Tower Көктөбе телемұнарасы


Ferris wheel

Waiting for sunset




Day 3, 23 Aug 18 (Thu)

Finally a sunny day

ПерекуCity Mixx - A breakfast like this is 440₸ (SGD$1.64)
The ПерекуCity is like a 24hrs canteen that I can have breakfast to late night supper anytime I wish

Big Almaty Lake Большое Алматинское Озеро is about 1hr (35km) from Sky Hostel Almaty

First President park Тұңғыш Президент Паркі


Kazakhstan Hotel Гостиница Казахстан - Take a public bus from here to Medeu

Bus 12 from Kazakhstan Hotel to Medeu Cable Car (Screen capture from 2GIS)

Medeu Cable Car: ₸2,500 (SGD$9.35)

Medeu Skating rink

Unfortunately, by the time I am up, the next tier of cable cars to the summit is already closed.

Abay Kunanbaev Monument Памятник Абаю Кунанбаеву


Barfly bar/pub/restaurant at 26th floor of Kazakhstan Hotel

Horsemeat steak

Total dinner cost at Barfly: ₸12,200 (SGD$45.62)

Dining at one of the tallest building of Almaty

Even the toilet has a magnificent view

Dolce Karaoke



Day 4, 24 Aug 18 (Fri)

Revisited Green Bazar

Central Park Центральный парк культуры и отдыха

Dostyk Plaza


Mega Park

Satbayev Kazakh National Technical University Қ. И. Сəтбаев атындағы Қазақ Ұлттық Техникалық Университеті

Metro gantry

360 inside the metro

Abay Kazakh State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater Абай атындағы қазақ мемлекеттік академиялық опера және балет театры

The Museum Of The Rare Books Сирек кездесетін кітаптар мұражайы

300 Tenge (KZT) for a 0.5litre local beer, that's like SGD$1.20...


Day 5, 25 Aug 18 (Sat)

Waking up with a view of snow-capped mountains behind Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest metropolis. Where else can you find nature so close to a city?

Revisited Mega Park


Snow leopards have symbolic meaning for Turkic peoples of Central Asia, where the animal is known as irbis or bars, so it is widely used in heraldry and as an emblem. A snow leopard is found on the official seal of the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, and the former 10,000 Kazakhstani tenge banknote also featured one on the reverse. (Source: Wikipedia)

Road works in progress

Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan Центральный государственный музей РК - 500₸ (SGD$1.86) for entry

Almaty city mayor's office Аппарат акима города Алматы, Алматы қала əкімшілігі

Independence Monument Тәуелсіздік монументі

Turan University Университет "Туран"

Kishlak Кишлак

Beshbarmak is the national dish among nomadic Turkic peoples in Central Asia and Russia.

Rixos Almaty Hotel

The "Eternal Flame" continues to burn brightly even in the darkest hours at the 28 Panfilov Guardsmen Park - Парк имени 28 гвардейцев-панфиловцев


Day 6, 26 Aug 18 (Sun)

360 at SkyHostel, Almaty

Works in progress

Alma Ata 2 вокзал Алма-Ата-2

Took a night sleep train from Almaty to Astana for 24,150 tenge (SGD $90) instead of a domestic flight for 17,000 (SGD$64). There's wifi for onboard entertainment. Dining on the train is significantly more expensive and crowded too. Oh yes, the toilet don't go straight down the tracks.


Cabin for four at 24,150₸ (SGD$90.30) per pax

Bar area


Common corridor


Screen capture of on board entertainment (connected with wifi to your smartphone)

Free games

Route 701Ц Almaty → Astana


Journey time

0 km


0 km

10 m
624 km
6 h 41 m
10 m
1086 km
11 h 3 m
Karagandy Pass
10 m
1086 km
11 h 3 m
Astana (all stations)

1321 km
13 h 44 m
Astana-Nurly Zhol

1321 km
13 h 44 m

Overview of train route (source: Google Map)


Day 7, 27 Aug 18 (Mon)

Arrived at Astana Nurly Zhol Railway Station ЖД Вокзал "Нурлы ЖОЛ", public buses are available from the railway station which makes travelling to the city area easy.

Multiple public buses at the Astana Nurly Zhol Railway Station that brings you to the city area (Screen capture using 2GIS)

National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan Қазақстан Республикасының Ұлттық музейі

McDonald's Double filet-O-Fish, with potato wedges and coffee - 2100₸ (SGD$7.83)

Triumph Триумф гостиница

Hostel Forum, Astana - 9000₸ ($33.64) for my 3-night stay

Circus Столичный цирк КГКП

Keremet Public Bath Керемет монша

Duman Aqua Park

Inside a Kurt

Ethno-memorial complex Map of Kazakhstan Atameken "Атамекен" этно-мемориалды кешені


Zenkov's Cathedral Свято-Вознесенский Кафедральный собор

Astana city

Astana Tower

This bridge is a gift from Atyrau region to the 20th Anniversary of Astana. Built with love to their city by the BI Group. Designed by Askhat Saduov

Astana Bike

Easy use

The locations of bike stations

The Astana Bike App enables you to know which stations have empty slots or how many bikes are there

Transport Tower

Bayterek Tower Бәйтерек монументі

Bayterek Tower: ₸700 (SGD$2.62)



Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center

GPS log


Day 8, 28 Aug 18 (Tue)


Колесо обозрения AIland

Park U Muzeya Парк у музея

The Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Қазақстан Республикасы Тұңғыш Президентінің Музейі

Kazakhstan Military History Museum Қазақстан Республикасы қарулы күштерінің Әскери-Тарихи музеиі



Underpass mural

Monument to the Defenders of the Motherland Монумент Отан Корғаушылар

Apartments that looks like North Korea

Hazrat Sultan Mosque Әзірет Сұлтан мешіті

Kazakh National University of the Arts Қазақ ұлттық өнер университеті

Monument Kazakh Eli Монумент "Қазақ Елі"

Palace of Independence Тәуелсіздік сарайы

Palace of Peace and Reconciliation Бейбітшілік пен келісім сарайы

Astana Music Hall

Ishim River

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center Хан Шатыр

Astana Opera Астана Опера

Колесо обозрения AIland

GPS log


Day 9, 29 Aug 18 (Wed)

Qabanbay Batyr Ave

Nur Astana Mosque Нұр Астана Мешіті

Beijing Palace Soluxe Hotel Astana

Transport building


Self-cooked dinner



Day 10, 30 Aug 18 (Thu)

Wefie with the Hostel crew

Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport Нұрсұлтан Назарбаев Халықаралық Әуежайы

Domestic Terminal



International Terminal

Immigration stamp

Vacuum packed Horse meat

Horse milk

Total distance cycled using Astana Bike


Day 11, 31 Aug 18 (Fri)


Baidu map

OsmAnd map enables GPS plot to be correctly plotted (unlike Google Map). Most importantly, it can be used in offline mode.

#ForbiddenCity #Beijing #故宫 #紫禁城 #北京

Admission fee of 60¥ (SGD$12)


St. Joseph's Wangfujing Church 王府井天主堂


银河 Yinhe SOHO


Lama Temple 雍和宫 - 25¥ (SGD$5) admission


Recycling station to topup the Yikatong 一卡通

Airport Express

Fridge magnets from the entire trip - Approx SGD$43.86


Overall expenses - SGD$1,435.60


More pictures:
- Almaty (21 - 26 Aug 18)
- Astana (27 - 30 Aug 18)
- Beijing (31 Aug 18)