Day 42, June 2: Fly Langkawi, Malysia to Kuala Lampur (225 NM) ; Kuala Lampur to Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Borobudur Temple) (895 NM)

With head winds and over water route to Bali — we opted for a technical, fuel stop in           Kuala Lumpur, capital of Maylasia.  First leg: Langkawi to Kaula Lumpur 225 NM

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First leg: Langkawi to Kaula Lumpur 225 NM — one hour.

IMG_1880 IMG_1887      Many building projects seen as we made our approach …looked for, but missed seeing the second tallest building in the world:  the Petronas Twin Towers (1483 feet).  (We did see the highest in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai…earlier on the journey.)

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We had to “hold” on taxiway for both a 152 and a 172 to taxi!
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Good final approach.

Second leg: Yogyakarta, Indonesia  895 NM  3 hr. 48 minutes.

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Smoke from top of volcano
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Tracking route up.
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? Puff the Magic dragon?
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Multiple volcanos.
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Tug boat cloud?

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Military/security attention for checking into Indonesia.

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One + hour tranfer to hotel Amanjiwo (Peaceful Soul).  Greeted by two young girls sprinkling rose petals in our path we were amazed at the beauty of this place. IMG_1914

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Entrance into villa.
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Separation wall between terraced sections — 36 units/villas at Amanjiwo
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How quickly Tom positioned the Arnolds on bed! Crazy?
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Our own little patio and pool. So very relaxing!

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Days 40 & 41, June 19 & 20: Beach villa in Langkawi and the Mangrove Safari

June 19, day’s plan: total relaxation.  No re-packing, no flight briefing, no scheduled event–it was great to linger our wonderful villa hearing the birds, roosters, monkeys and variety of animals.  Our long beach walk was exhilarating and we started lunch with our new favorite refreshing drink: cold coconut milk right from the nut itself!

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Rustic wooden ceiling was easy to stare at and imagine we were in some type of barn….
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To the right is a small portion of the white flowing draperies … the mirrored wall extended the large room further.
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Restaurants are down at the end of the beach…
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Cart paths (miles ?) were walled with natural stones.
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Lotus pond…provides a zen-like space for 0730 Yoga class. Did not make these early sessions! Mostly think of our Caddy Shack fans — “a pond is good for you” (Carl Spackler)
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Naturally semi-polished stones…from sea and/or river beds.

Next destination/relaxation — the adult infinity pool (55 meters long), complete with tasty “adult” beverages.

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Day 41…June 20th we were awakened by a blowing stormy rain. Our 0900 Mangrove boat tour delayed!

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Finally, quieter skies and calmer seas allowed us to launch about 3 pm to the Kilim Geoforest Park.

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Amazing mangroves with their adaptation to the salt water sea setting…actually excreting the salt through the top portion of leaves….the film protects the plant….and we are grateful for the oozing of solution which creates an amazing hazy “goop” on surface of water (no mosquito is able to break through surface tension to lay eggs).  No need for bug spray on our 2.5 hour discovery cruise!

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Low tide exposes dark part of tree which is actually root system….goes deep down to the muck/soil below.
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Cave we were able to peak into…if very low tide & low boat one could cruise through to other opening.

Did I mention the monkeys?  The snake.  Kite eagles and brown eagles….

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Need to have a keen eye to see snake on branch!

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IMG_1784Last evening walk to dinner…..a large group of wild monkeys climg up tree next to walkway. IMG_0691 IMG_0695 IMG_0697

Day 35, June 14: Flight Agra, India to Kolkata, India (630 NM) and Flight Kolkata, India to Chiang Mai, Thailand (635 NM)

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Most gracious staff, time to say good bye.
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Our drivers…tranfer to airport.

0730 morning pick up and transfer to the Agra airport took us through the city streets with less hectic traffic but busy industrious Indian people with trading in the streets.

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Agra Airport serves as the Indian Airforce Training Base and appropriately requires a security check in for our driver. We noticed the armed guard on duty.

The Baumann’s TBM N850TD was airbourne at 0851 anticipating ATC challenges as we had on our arrival. It was a relief to experience a smooth transition with ATC. One variation which is important: you must report back to Agra departure confirming that you have made contact with Dehli control. To omit this would leave our commrades grounded, not released to depart.  This is an example of kind of details important for each pilot to know and comply which are part of the pre-flight briefing the evening before each flight. Two hours and 20 minutes over India to Kolkata.

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First let to Kolkata. Course up (traveling east)
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Interesting cloud formations.

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Second leg: Flight over Bangladesh we talked with Daaka Control (VERY challenging to understand)….where we think the spoke into a tin can! There was a true IFR meterological flight with rain and clouds.  We flew over the Bay of Bengal and experienced major deviations around storm cloud build ups.  The lush green fields along the lower mountainous terrain was a welcoming sight as we approached (right on the glide-slope) for a challenging cross-wind landing.

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Golf course — left of final approach.
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Control Tower — Chiang Mai
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Perfectly on the glide slope.

Day 39, June 18: Chiang Mai, Thailand to Langkawi, Malaysia (810 NM)

Leaving our lovely Rachawedee residence at the Four Seasons Resort in Chaing Mai.

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Many rice paddies on property manage to be self-sustaining. The grounds crew is constantly working to keep the vegetation is ideal condition. Beautiful!
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Arnold fit right in at the residence pool….always photo-bombing!

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Fresh daily, the floating flower arrangements are exquisite! Just as the hospitality: the Thai people do so with a labor of true caring for others.

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Flying pretty much straight south we fly over Bangkok, the Gulf of Thailand and landed in Maylaysia and staying at the Four Seasons which is on the Strait of Malacca in the Andaman Sea.  Relaxing and enjoying the ocean side villa on the Malaysian archipelagos.

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Storm build up we avoided….
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South to Malaysia
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Red and white glideslope…looking good! At Langkawi 03 – 21 runway, traffic always lands on 03 and take-offs are on 21 (due to mountainous terrain).
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Fields and settlement on our approach.

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Day 36 & 37, June 15 & June 16: Leisure in a tropical paradise. Next: Chiang Dao Young Elephant Camp

The Four Seasons Resort affords us a wonderfully tranquil existence. It sits on 20 breathtaking acres of tropical gardens and rice paddies in the Mae Rim Valley. It is hard to drag yourself away from your polished teak floors, double vanity, oversized bathtub and spacious veranda….save for a meal or the ultimate spa experence (therapeutic massage).

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One of the local water buffalo at resort….helps with rice patty work! And amusing tourists.

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Second day in Chiang Mai, we departed the hotel for the Chiang Dao Young Elephants Training Camp, 56 km/35 miles from Chiang Mai. The elephants took their morning bath in the running stream before we enjoyed the amazing presentation on the Elephant skills. We experienced a 1½  hour elephant ride into the thick forest surrounding the camp. In the midst of the cude buildings, under a roof  “restaurant”, we enjoyed our delisious picnic lunch (catered by the Four Seasons).

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Actual art piece done by elephant…Tom’s purchase. Just to help feed the wonderful, noble elephants.
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Bathing time at the Elephant Camp.

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Water buffalo greeting us along our rafting adventure.

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Another exposure to the wild: rafting down the Mae Ping River on the simple bamboo raft. Beautiful!

Day 34, June 13: Taj Mahal

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Walking toward the entry of property…you eye first gets a glimpse of the magnificent Taj Mahal.

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Located just five minutes from the hotel, we visited the Taj Mahal – probably the most extravagant monument ever built for love. Constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, this striking mausoleum has become the de facto tourist emblem of India.  Photos tell the story.

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One of two balancing buildings aside the Taj — to balance weight and give balance. This one operates as a Mosque for Friday services by the few Muslims in Agra.
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The four minarets are actually tilted slightly, designed to fall outward in the event of a severe earthquake. One of the amazing engineering details here.
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Our group on Air Journey Around the World 2015.

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Many of  the stones have been robbed and yet the majority remain in place.

Later we visited a Marble Factory which gave us a deepened appreciation of the marble carving, the shaping of the semi-precious stones and inlay work done by the articians who decorated the Taj.  This factory replicated the artwork of Taj Mahal into various beautiful and useful pieces of art. The glue used as adhesive for the stones is a secret formula and hoped to be as durable as that used 400 years ago.    Sorry, no photos in show room! But you might see my 18″ marble inlay tray one day.