Traveling with my Canon G7X Mark I

/ 11/11/2017
Once in a blue moon, i do get messages from people asking what camera i use for my travels. It is none other than the reliable Canon G7X Mark I. I named him Aang, yeah Aang, the Last Airbender in Avatar. 

Here’s a brief history of my travel cameras over the years:

When i first started general blogging (not travel), i had my first Pentax compact camera. Its a cute camera that almost resemble a toy & you were able to change its body with different stickers. I got tired of its ugly quality and moved on to my first  m43 camera: the Sony Nex 5. It was the golden years where m43s were being introduced to the world and everyone is going crazy. The Nex 5 was beautiful but it lacks one thing: a 180 degrees flip up screen. I realised it was too heavy to vlog in & bringing it around for my travels was such a hassle. The Sony Nex series has been discontinued to make way for the mirrorless Alphas. 

Due to the weight of the camera, i sold it away for a Powershot SX280 HS. It doesn’t have a flip up screen but i wanted something lighter and easier to deal with. I was also considering to get the Canon S120 (recommended by Ben Brown & Casey Neistat) but the salesman kept pushing me to get this tough Powershot. Thinking back, i shouldn't have relented to him. I gave it a go but fortunately, it soaked itself into the blue sea in Phi Phi island a few months after. 

Why did i say fortunately? That’s when Canon decided to introduced the Canon G7X Mark I. My decision to get this camera was hugely influenced by Ben Brown, Fun For Louis & Casey Neistat - a cluster of travel vloggers that has boost my creativity by a notch. 

In with the new, out with the old, they say. What do i have to lose? I purchased it & never looked back since. Its been almost 3 years, the Mark II has come out and here i am giving a review for the first one. 

It has flip up screen, great focusing for a compact camera, lightweight and produce great photos and even astrophotography! Not to forget, the seamless transfer of images & videos on the G7X via wifi through the Canon Camera Connect application makes posting on my favourite social media a breeze. The application also allows me to do a remote shooting and its pretty useful at times - especially when traveling alone. For more specification details, you can look up online as this information is widely available.
Here are some sample photos: 

I deliberately uploaded these photos that explores different types of photography modes used in the camera. I am most impressed by the astrophotography photo i took in New Zealand, the result was unbelievable. I particularly use my G7X for landscape photos during my travels as above and it has never let me down. I am also able to control the camera to give a blurry background effect. Night photos can be a bit tricky but i can manage it with some post editing. During my research to purchase this camera, i found out that the G7X can function as a part-manual camera. It is a good practice before migrating to an SLR or DSLR. I never regretted this purchase. I am not one for tech reviews but i hope this post benefits those whom are dabbling into photography leisurely and looking for the perfect travel camera.

Anyway, this is also a farewell post for my well used Canon G7X Mark 1 because i am about to upgrade to a different camera. I guess as we moved on to a different phase of life, our preference changes. I can’t wait to tell you more about my new camera. (Psst, first photo taken using my new mirrorless camera!)

What kind of camera do you use on your travels? Tell me more about it.

Once in a blue moon, i do get messages from people asking what camera i use for my travels. It is none other than the reliable Canon G7X Mark I. I named him Aang, yeah Aang, the Last Airbender in Avatar. 

Here’s a brief history of my travel cameras over the years:

When i first started general blogging (not travel), i had my first Pentax compact camera. Its a cute camera that almost resemble a toy & you were able to change its body with different stickers. I got tired of its ugly quality and moved on to my first  m43 camera: the Sony Nex 5. It was the golden years where m43s were being introduced to the world and everyone is going crazy. The Nex 5 was beautiful but it lacks one thing: a 180 degrees flip up screen. I realised it was too heavy to vlog in & bringing it around for my travels was such a hassle. The Sony Nex series has been discontinued to make way for the mirrorless Alphas. 

Due to the weight of the camera, i sold it away for a Powershot SX280 HS. It doesn’t have a flip up screen but i wanted something lighter and easier to deal with. I was also considering to get the Canon S120 (recommended by Ben Brown & Casey Neistat) but the salesman kept pushing me to get this tough Powershot. Thinking back, i shouldn't have relented to him. I gave it a go but fortunately, it soaked itself into the blue sea in Phi Phi island a few months after. 

Why did i say fortunately? That’s when Canon decided to introduced the Canon G7X Mark I. My decision to get this camera was hugely influenced by Ben Brown, Fun For Louis & Casey Neistat - a cluster of travel vloggers that has boost my creativity by a notch. 

In with the new, out with the old, they say. What do i have to lose? I purchased it & never looked back since. Its been almost 3 years, the Mark II has come out and here i am giving a review for the first one. 

It has flip up screen, great focusing for a compact camera, lightweight and produce great photos and even astrophotography! Not to forget, the seamless transfer of images & videos on the G7X via wifi through the Canon Camera Connect application makes posting on my favourite social media a breeze. The application also allows me to do a remote shooting and its pretty useful at times - especially when traveling alone. For more specification details, you can look up online as this information is widely available.
Here are some sample photos: 

I deliberately uploaded these photos that explores different types of photography modes used in the camera. I am most impressed by the astrophotography photo i took in New Zealand, the result was unbelievable. I particularly use my G7X for landscape photos during my travels as above and it has never let me down. I am also able to control the camera to give a blurry background effect. Night photos can be a bit tricky but i can manage it with some post editing. During my research to purchase this camera, i found out that the G7X can function as a part-manual camera. It is a good practice before migrating to an SLR or DSLR. I never regretted this purchase. I am not one for tech reviews but i hope this post benefits those whom are dabbling into photography leisurely and looking for the perfect travel camera.

Anyway, this is also a farewell post for my well used Canon G7X Mark 1 because i am about to upgrade to a different camera. I guess as we moved on to a different phase of life, our preference changes. I can’t wait to tell you more about my new camera. (Psst, first photo taken using my new mirrorless camera!)

What kind of camera do you use on your travels? Tell me more about it.

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Ni Hao, China! More specifically, Kunming, the City of Eternal Spring. The weather was as chilly as the time i was in Melbourne. It was 25 Degrees Celsius and i am loving it.Located at an altitude of 1900m above sea level, Kunming is the capital of and largest city in Yunnan Province, Southwest China. Kunming is also called the Spring City due to its weather. Soon it will be the hub and terminus for the Pan Asia High Speed Network using high speed trains to connect China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore. 

Enough talking....I met up with another solo traveler from Malaysia, Najib, which is also a long time amazing friend of mine. We then traveled across China for the rest of our trip which turns out amazing as well and i will the rest of the story soon....
It was a struggle finding transport directly to our hostel (which we didn't book yet) and we kept going back and forth at the entrance of the airport to bargain a good price from the drivers. Result? 150 Yuan per trip. Half an hour later, we found ourselves on a bus that cost 25 Yuan. I searched up information on the internet and discovered that we could take bus No 1 which will terminate at West Inn. The journey was about 45 minutes and once we reached the last stop, we flagged a cab to our hostel. We were somewhat relief that we are back on track and on our way to Kunming Upland International Youth Hostel to settle down for the day. As we have a night train scheduled, we only kept our backpacks in the hostel and paid 10 Yuan to use the shower. After a nice hot shower, we are all geared up to explore a little bit of what Kunming has to offer.

5 minutes walk away from the hostel, we entered the entrance of the famous Cui Hu Lake.It is one of the most beautiful park in Kunming situated almost in the city center facing Yunnan University. This lake used to be a part of Dianchi Lake.  Pearl, Jade, Gem or Eye of Kunming are a few of the names given to the Green Lake Park / Cui Hu Lake in Kunming. Cui Hu (翠湖) as it is called in Chinese, consists of a group of 4 small ponds linked by bridges in the traditional Chinese style. In the early days, the lake was used as a water reservoir for the city.
The photo above is taken at the Bamboo Forest Islet (Zhu Lin Dao) in the northwest of the lake. If you find this photo somewhat similar to another place, yes - it does look almost the same like the famous Bamboo Grove Forest in Kyoto, Japan. I love it! 
 Beautiful vibrant flowers can be seen as i strolled along the park, i guess there is a reason it is called the city of eternal spring.
The days are long and the nights are short here. It gets completely dark only a few minutes short after 8pm. Its a good thing though, as i get to take advantage of this to explore and take more photos as much as the sunlight permits. I really enjoyed the stroll in this big park and loved inspecting the detailed designs of each building i saw. Entrance to this park is free so that is even better for my wallet. 

We exited out of the park and start hunting for food, halal food. Since we are Muslims, eating Halal food is a must and to taste Yunnan's muslim food would be a privilege for us. So we walked and we walked and we walked.......and took some interesting photos along the way.

Since we are at the topic of Muslims, of all of China's 56 Minority nationalities, the only qualified for such designation by religion alone, rather than language or ethnic identification, were the Hui, who are Muslims, but ethnically Han Chinese. Yunnan's Hui today make up around 700k people making them the 7th largest minority in the province. It was nice to read up a bit of the Hui's history being focused politically despite their religion of Islam and how the Mongols came to invade to destroy empire and continuously as years passed leading to a cultural revolution called the Panthay Rebellion & trying to strike a deal with the Yunnan Govt etc. 

At the end of this long walk, we had our dinner in a Muslim restaurant at a street on the photo above. We head back to our hostel and take a breather before we set out to Kunming Railway Station for our 11.40pm train to Dali. 
So here we are! This is Kunming Railway Station. And this exact train station makes me & Najib turn into a mini panic attack mode. We found out that there were 3 train stations in Kunming but our train pickup voucher does not state which station we were supposed to head to as even google seems to be giving unclear answers. Luckily, I suggested getting out of the hostel slightly earlier and flagged a cab down to the train station. We took a gamble and went straight to the Main Station - carefully looking at the navigation route on the phone. Thankfully, it was the correct one. 

The other 2 stations were either serving High Speed Rails & connecting to other provinces as well. 
The whole process from Security Screening, to picking up our train ticket & then check-in and waiting at the holding area takes about 1 hour - just like the process at the airport. Just for information, in March 2014, a terrorist attack occurs here where a large group of people came rushing in with long knives killing and injuring people.They were later identified as violent Uyghur separatist group. 

Back at the station, i found the pickup booth to collect the train ticket and then proceed to check in at wait at the waiting area. The situation at the waiting area is slightly alarming for me as i can see poop and pee on seats. Oh wells....

I had a long bumpy sleep all ready to explore the next ancient city of Dali. Bring it on, China! x

Ni Hao, China!

by on 10/21/2017
Ni Hao, China! More specifically, Kunming, the City of Eternal Spring. The weather was as chilly as the time i was in Melbourne. It was 25 D...
It’s understandable that keeping on top of your game when it comes to fitness is challenging whilst travelling. When the temptation to let it all go and forget about it is there, many travellers fall into bad habits and effectively have their work cut out once they’re home.

Thankfully, there are many ways to combat this and keep your fitness up whilst enjoying yourself. Here are the must-know tips and tricks to ensure a healthy and happy trip.

BRING SOME EQUIPMENT WITH YOU
If you’re going to long for the gym whilst you’re away from home, it might help to bring some pocket-sized equipment with you that will aid in your daily routine. From skippping ropes to mini dumbells and weights, there are plenty of tools to incorporate into a quick workout, perhaps every morning to get you going.

A skipping rope, for example, is a great thing to include in a cardio workout – the British Rope Skipping Association states how just 10 minutes of skipping equates to 45 minutes of running, as highlighted by Cosmopolitan. If you’re looking for an effective workout in a shorter time, this could be the right thing for you. Best of all, it won’t take up much room in your luggage.

WATCH YOUR DIET

Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar on Unsplash

One of the biggest hurdles many travellers have to overcome whilst travelling is their food intake. With the temptation of local cuisines proving to be too much for some, with TINZ highlighting how a shocking 90% of travellers put on weight during their holidays.

If you want to indulge, just don’t make it a regular thing. It makes sense to want to explore and challenge your taste buds to the best of what’s on offer, but be sure to be mindful of what you’re eating (and drinking). Keep it regulated and sensible and the blow won’t be too heavy.

GO SWIMMING


Why not jump right in and have a swim? If you’re travelling it’s likely you’ll be splashing in the sea or a pool during your trip, so be sure to get a few lengths in while you’re at it. Swimming is arguably underrated as an exercise, as it’s actually one of the most effective.

Acting as both a strength and resistance workout, it will also help improve your cardiovascular fitness. Not only that, but it will build muscle all over the body, trim your body fat and improve your flexibility all at once. And, as an added bonus, it’s good for your mental health too – swimming is a natural remedy to alleviate stress, which is perhaps necessary when travelling.

PARTAKE IN SOME ACTIVITIES

Photo by Kyle Meck on Unsplashtion

Don’t hold back on your travels – make sure to try your hand at some activities. Whether it be hiking, which doubles as an effective and strenuous cardio workout, or something more high-octane such as white-water rafting, you’ll be exerting your body in ways you won’t be able to back at home.

The fun and excitement of activities means the fitness side of them is harder to notice. When you’re purposefully exercising you likely feel more tired and unmotivated, but when the adrenaline kicks in as you battle waves and rapids in a fast-moving river, you’ll really be pushing yourself to the limit without even having to think about it.

OPT TO WALK OR CYCLE


Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash
Instead of relying on public transports or taxis – the latter probably setting you back considerably in terms of money – why not use your feet instead? When you opt to walk instead of catching a ride elsewhere, you’ll have more time to take in your surroundings and explore.

If walking doesn’t take your fancy, you could always cycle. It makes for another effective exercise, working your leg muscles whilst trimming body fat, and will also get you to your destination quicker than walking. Enquire to see if you can rent a bicycle, and go forth and explore.

Do you have any more fitness tips for the active travellers? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
Recently i took a trip to China, exploring the cities of Yunnan Provinces and had collated some helpful tips during the trip. Its more related to technology. Yeah, i know my blog is a little bit messy and all my travel post from different countries are all over the place. I hope to resolve that soon, but procrastination and life love to meddle in this. Nonetheless, i really want to get this post out (even though i have posted it on Instagram). This is a slightly more detailed version from my Insta-post that you guys might have seen. Hopefully it will bring some helpful enlightenment to those of you who wants to visit China. 
Here are some IT Savvy tips for those who wants to visit China:
1. Download Google Translate App and then download their offline Chinese (Simplified) translator. For easy use to communicate with the locals and preventing miscommunication through your ugly doodles and retarded hand signs. I'm not sure which language to use on the translator as there is Chinese (simplified) & Chinese (traditional), i just picked the Chinese (simplified) version and have no problems with it at all. It helps me since i do speak basic Mandarin and able to understand and carry light conversations. 
2. Utilized the Google Translate Camera icon in the app. When you press on the camera 📷icon, you can translate words from banners/menus/signboards in real time from the in-camera app. It may not work so well as Google Translate Image will struggle to translate but you can always give it a try. What do you have to lose, right?
3. Download Maps.me on you App/Playstore
It provides a much accurate map navigation in China and its available offline. You are also able to select routes for cycling/walking or driving. You can explore point of interest in their highly detailed maps. Oh, Don't bother with your Apple & Google Maps - they are bloody inaccurate in China. 


4. All this can't work without VPN. The key to the world. As you cannot access certain sites in China such as Google, Instagram, Facebook etc. Go download any VPN apps from your App/Play store BEFORE you fly off - to be safe. Enable your VPN and then you are connected to the world wide web. I used VPN Proxy Master from the App Store. 
5. Book your overnight trains in advanced. Recommended to book via @ctripcvm @ctripcom , if you book in advanced - you might get a discount. The advantage of this website is, you know where your allocated seat is example Carriage 1 Row 12 Lower Berth. These minute details will save all the confusion you will have to encounter if you don't have them. Also, i do realised other train portals for China trains charged a few extra bucks so do your research before you cash that money in. 
6. Oh and yes, please buy a sim card at the airport. There's a specific one where you get 18GB for a month by Unicom that cost 100 Yuan! Its a great bang for your buck. You don't have to struggle to find a way to reload your card and not worry about running out of data (just use necessarily)! Unfortunately, there's no information about this 18GB package online - i swear though it has that much Gigabyte on it. I still have the balance amount information on my message box from the Telcom. So maybe you can try your luck at the convenience store - i bought mine in a mini provision shop in Kunming Airport.  



Remember, be a street smart traveller. Don't act smart, be smart aye! 🙋🏼 Until next time, safe travels!


My stay in Nusa Lembongan has been fruitful and awesome as there are so many interesting things see and do in and around the island. To get to Nusa Lembongan, you need to take a ferry from Sanur Beach in mainland Bali - you can read more about my journey here. I would recommend you to stay in the island for 3 to 4 days to fully explore this gem. Read on for some of the things you can do in Nusa Lembongan other than the usual water activities! 

1. Mangrove Forest
The first stop in Nusa Lembongan was at the mangrove forest. To get here, you can easily asked the locals and they will probably know someone who can bring you to this peaceful place. There are also tour offices around the crowded areas of the island that offer the mangrove forest tour.

Pak Ketut from our accommodation hooked us up with a boatman and send us to the northern part of the island. We set out across the calm sea and then the boat stopped in the middle of nowhere. The boatman told us that he can't move his boat further in due to the low tide. We were then made to walk on water few miles away from the mangrove and get on another boat but thankfully, another man came to our rescue so we transferred ourselves to his boat. I was honestly scared and amazed at the same time; i couldn't believe my eyes that we can walk on it due to the low tide. I thought it was just my eyes playing tricks.

Despite that odd experience, we managed to enter the mangrove forest and enjoy our time to ourselves. The smell and sound of nature gets to me. It was amazing to be there and i love how peaceful it was cruising along the river quietly.

2. Cruising around the Island by Boat
*at your own risk*
Well, we did exactly this on a slightly stormy weather in the evening. You will be able to see the islands from the sea point of view which is a totally beautiful and different kind of perspective. It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour cruising around. Beware, you are about to be taken for a hell of a ride and definitely not for the faint heart. I spend the whole time fearing for my life though.
3. Get wet at Devil's Tears
One of the more popular attraction sites in Nusa Lembongan is the famous Devil's Tears Bay. Just 10 minutes away from my accommodation, i can easily access this beauty by bike. There are visible signs to the Bay or simply just asking people around to reach this area will lead you faster than you know it. 
As the name suggested, the waves hitting the edges of the rocks is definitely devilish. It is like a bipolar version of a human - sometimes it hits you soft and gentle, maybe a wisp of water spray if you are lucky, if not - it will slap you right off the ground. Its a beauty beyond your imagination and its free. 

4.Relaxing on Dream Beach
Dream Beach is easily located and not too far from Devil's Tears so you definitely will not miss out the infamous tree with a swing before you entered Devil's Tears. Just look over and you can see Dream Beach. 
The lush blue waves hit the shore dauntingly that i actually wondered if it is a wave or a mini tsunami coming. Tsk. To get to the other side, you have to quickly walk over to the further part of the shore so be careful as the tides are very uncertain, you might get drenched (like i did) or washed out totally.

Like any other beach, this place is perfect for a quick tan, enjoying the breeze, have a rest at the lazy bean bags provided from the nearest villa or lunch at Dream Beach Hotel. You can take a dip into their infinity pool overlooking the beach - amazing view but with a price.

5. Take a ride to the Yellow Bridge
Getting bored of Lembongan? Really? Other than the usual water activities like snorkeling and diving - i didn't do any of those as i wasn't interested. Your adventures don't stop there, take a ride towards the Yellow Bridge. Now, newly rebuilt after the collapsed during a prayer session last year - this bridge will lead you to a whole new island: Nusa Ceningan. 

P.s: I also managed to sneak in to a newly built villa at the end of Dream Beach, the pool is awesome! You might want to add "hotel-hopping" to your list of things to do in the islands. 

P.P.S: Stay tuned for that and thanks for reading! Safe travels!