Saturday, March 29, 2014

6th Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2014

Putrajaya's sky is once again dotted with the colourful hot air balloons from 27th to 30th March 2014 at Precint 2 of the Federal Government Administrative Centre.

I have been a frequent visitor to this annual event since its 3rd edition and almost every year, there will be new balloons as well as returning balloons to be seen here.

The Hot Air Balloon Flying Show will commence around 7am and 6pm every day where all the 18 balloons will be launched in an orderly fashion from the Free Flying Area (Blue Zone).

What a sight to behold when all those balloons were launched and colour the sky.  Some of the highlights for this year are the ice cream cone and heart shaped balloons

Unfortunately I had yet to see the "Flying Superbike" which is said to be the largest balloon piloted by Dr. Richard Allen. I hope to catch a glimpse of it sometime later at the Night Glow show.

Lady Luck is on my side this year as finally I am able to see the Darth Vader balloon since its first appearance in 2010. It didn't feature here last year and for some reason I missed it in the past edition. It is piloted by Benoit Lambert from Belgium.

Visitor will also have an opportunity to ride on the hot air balloons as there are 3 dedicated hot air balloons been set up at the Tethered Balloon Area (Blue Zone). Ticket price for a tethered hot air balloon rides is RM20 per ride and the tickets are usually sold out by 8.30am.

For those who are interested to see the inside of the air balloon, there is a section where the balloon is cold inflated where it is safe for visitor to actually venture into it. Ticket is prized at RM3 per entry.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Klang Valley MRT Mock Up Train

To create awareness to public on what to expect on the ongoing MRT project around the Klang Valley, a mock up train has been set up at the KLIA Express arrival hall at KL Sentral until 18th May 2014.

The mock up train model is of half of actual car, complete with its face that resembles the actual MRT train in design, colour and interior layout.

When the project is completed, there will be 4 cars in each train set with each car capable of carrying 300 passengers. This would mean 1,200 people can be transported at one time. For each car there will be a total of 174 seated passengers, 45 at each end of the cars and 42 in the middle cars.

Trains for the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang line will be supplied  by Siemens. A total of 58 trains will operate along the route, the waiting time during peak hour will be just 3.5 minutes. Designed by DesignworksUSA, a subsidiary of the BMW Group and engineered by Siemens, the train was built on the cultural influences of Malaysia.

The train is fully automated, driverless and conductorless as it is run by a state of the art train automation system. It is also lightweight and built with sustainable materials and has high recyclability at the end of their service life.

The spacious gangways between the train cars enable unrestricted passenger movement. The interiors are equipped with LED lighting beneath the seats that generates a pleasant sense of space. The varying shades of restful blue and traditional symmetrical patterns symbolizes the vitality and cultural diversity of KL. Colour contrasts of the floor at the door areas help guide passengers and make it easier for them to enter and exit.

Train destinations are clearly visible on the exterior as well as the interior of the train. Inside each car are dynamic maps above doors and LED screens displays above windows that relay real time information about the train.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cloud Forest @ Gardens at the Bay

After exploring the Flower Dome, visitor who holds a combo ticket can then proceed to the Cloud Forest conservatory, a mysterious world veiled in mist. 

A 35m man made mountain and waterfall greets visitor once passing through its main entrance. The man made mountain is covered in lush vegetation and home to the world's tallest indoor waterfall.

The man made mountain is best explore from the top before descending via the two walkways (cloud and treetop walk) in the clouds for an aerial view of the canopy and mountainside below.

Within the man made mountain is a crystal display which depicts the formation which could be found inside the mountain.

Within the conservatory, there is a train model which illustrates the key mode of transport in areas of high elevation around the world. In such remote areas, locomotive services give life to many towns, transporting not only people but also food, fuel and other daily necessities. An example of this is the Patagonian Express, which traverses the high plains of Argentina.

There are more than meets the eyes here other than just the eye catching man made mountain. It is a relaxing stroll around the cool surrounding inside the conservatory amidst the nature within it.

Before signing out of the conservatory, head to the +5 Degrees center where visitor can learn about the self sustainability at the Gardens by the Bay and numerous ecological functions of the Supertrees such as capturing solar energy and double as an exhaust while supporting a green living skin. It is also an interactive learning center to create awareness for the younger generation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flower Dome @ Gardens by the Bay

The Flower Dome is one of the two cooled conservatories (Flower Dome & Cloud Forest) at the edge of the Marina Reservoir.

The admission fee is SGD 28 for two conservatories. Local resident enjoy a special rate of SGD 20 for two conservatories and SGD 12 for one conservatory.

Both of the conservatories glass sit on a steel grid which acts like an eggshell and hence do away with the column as the support. It is the world's largest columnless glasshouse

Another interesting fact is the conservatory consists of 3,332 panels of 42 varying shapes and size which made the Flower Dome a virtually giant puzzle.

With the air temperature maintained at 23 to 25 degree Celsius, it is a leisure just to stroll around here. The air here is cooled at the lower occupied zone through chilled water pipes in ground slabs while warm air is vented out at the top.

The Flower Dome replicates the cool dry climate of the Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy.

It is interesting to see all sort of seasonal vegetables and flowers which were grown here.

While walking around, visitors will be fascinated with the variety of amazing plants and flowers from different corners of the world and how different parts of the trees are used in daily lives across different cultures.