One of the most ravishing sights on Earth should be the pristine night sky - the brightest of so many stars from the billions in our Milky Way, the fast streak of meteors, planetary neighbours such as Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, the nebulous glow of other galaxies such as Andromeda. Light pollution, however, means few experience this free glory.
In the past, people have been looking at the night sky, telling stories, for the entirety of recorded human history. But when we moved into cities, we lost that deep connection with the universe. Luckily, one does not need to go very far to find the dark site for stargazing or pursue astrophotography. In fact, there are enticing dark sky oases all over our nearest neighbouring country of Malaysia. Along the eastern coast of Peninsula Malaysia, the region offers superb stellar vistas which are spectacular when the weather is clear. You can get close to a pristine glimpse of celestial glory and enjoy what the universe has to offer!
Day One: Depart for Mersing!
Meet at a designated MRT station. The organizer / guide and transport drivers will welcome and receive you. Your attendance will be taken and depending on the logistics arrangements, your instrument(s) will be ferried within one of the vehicle fleet. Afterwards, once everyone in the group has arrived, you will proceed towards the Singapore Customs Checkpoint (usually at Woodlands), and pass through the Causeway, en-route towards Johor Bahru in Peninsula Malaysia. At the Malaysian Customs, you may be required to disembark your instrument(s). Therefore it will be highly recommended to pack your instruments in as optimal way as possible, and within your carrying capacity.
After clearance at the Malaysian Customs, there will be a brief stop at a nearby petrol station. This would be a good time to have a toilet break and purchase some snacks / tit-bits for the journey up north to Mersing. From there, it will be approximately two hours of travel duration before we reach the town of Mersing. This town stop-over will be typically longer (about half an hour to forty-five minutes), and the group would norminally stop at the KFC Building for late lunch. You are also advised to purchase any food / snacks sufficient for the nights spent at the observation site (chalets). It will be another half an hour upon final arrival at the destination. The vehicles will be parked right next to your chalets and everyone will prepare to check-in into the chalet units. The organizer / guide will assist in directing you to your respective chalet unit. It will be free-and-easy for the rest of the day until nightfall. Overnight stargazing / astrophotography thereafter.
Free - and - easy for everyone. Opportunities to explore the nearby islet of Mawar, go swimming on a private-like beach in front of our chalets, or simply laze around! Overnight stargazing / astrophotography thereafter.
Check-out of chalets at in the morning. Get back onboard the transport vehicles, ready to proceed back home. Expected arrival into Singapore Customs ranges from noon till mid-afternoon depending on traffic conditions. See you soon!
IMPORTANT INFORMATION (Details may be dated. Please verify.)
Departure Time (on Friday, unless otherwise stated): 1100HRS
Departure Location: Kranji MRT Station (area in front of the bus-stop), Singapore
Departure Time from Destination (on Sunday, unless otherwise stated): 1000HRS (after breakfast)
Arrival Time (on Sunday, unless otherwise stated): Mid-afternoon (depending on traffic conditions)
Arrival Location: Kranji MRT Station (area in front of the bus-stop), Singapore
Catered Meals: First Day - Dinner. Second Day - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Third Day - Breakfast
Transport Provision: Two-way transport by air-conditioned mini-buses or multi-purpose vehicles
Accommodation Provision: Air-conditioned beach chalets (either twin or triple-sharing, unless otherwise requested)
OPTICAL INSTRUMENT DECLARATION
Please note that as far as we would highly encourage you to bring optical instruments for the expedition, we would also appreciate if you could pack them optimally. Do note that the vehicles provided would be primarily used to transport attendees. If you have equipment in bulky cases (or any other bulky item), an equipment levy charge may be applied, or if most of the attendees in the group are bringing instruments (instrument-person ratio is almost 1:1).