South East Asia – 3 – 48 hours in Kuala Lumpur

Just wow…I arrived back from my 3 week South East Asia trip a few days ago and I cannot wait to start blogging!!!

I am so thankful for the memories over the past few weeks that were made with my best friends during our end of university trip! We really did everything we wanted to do: immerse ourselves in new cultures, eat like the locals do, see the wonders of SE Asia and come home to graduate in one piece (despite the slightly precarious situations we were in…I will explain more about later..). It was incredible to travel so far so CHEAPLY!! At the end I will do a rundown of how much we spent in total but to give you an idea it was around £1,600 for everything (flights (x5), airbnbs, spending money, tours, visa and insurance).

After our 16 hour journey from Edinburgh we touched down at KL’s international airport (be careful when planning your journey as there are 2 international airports). Our airbnb ( Mercu Summer Suites) was located in the centre of KL near the Petronas Towers so took around an hour to get there. Instead of Uber in SE Asia they have Grab so do yourself a favour and download the app before you arrive and you are good to go (cash only so get some money out using the ATM at the airport). Our grab was only 72 MRY including the tolls which is £13.77.

If you would like money off your first Airbnb use my personal link when booking!

Day 1

We woke up early eager to explore the city in the short time that we had! We knew that we could not see everything but made a plan of what we definitely wanted to see to use our time effectively.

Firstly we headed to Merdeka Square which is one of the most popular areas in the city, located in front Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Here there remains strong evidence of the British empire with the type of architecture and grassy spaces.

After we were drawn towards the Countdown Clock which is part of the River of Life project which counts down to the year 2020! We admit it’s not much of an attraction but we were drawn to the water…oh my goodness….KL was so HOT and HUMID we knew the first morning that time spent doing hair and makeup was time definitely wasted…so we all embraced the natural!

We wanted our first proper meal in KL to be authentic so we avoided all the chain restaurants and headed to the Chinatown food markets. We sat down where we saw the most locals and tried some amazing dishes!

Always ask for the price before ordering because they sometimes try to rip off tourists when you ask for the bill.

We also visited one of the many beautiful mosques in the city, Jamek Mosque and spoke to a lady there about the Islamic dress code for woman. She was kind enough to offer us a book about the dress code for woman in particular which was definitely enlightening for 3 western woman to read due to the amount of restrictions woman adhere to in other parts of the world.

Please be respectful when visiting places of worship such as mosques and temples. You must always cover your shoulders and sometimes have to remove your shoes to enter.

After lunch we visited the Forest Eco Park which was the thing I was most excited to do in the city! It did not disappoint! It was so refreshing to be high in the treetops away from the hustle and bustle of KL. This urban jungle attraction has many trails and an incredibly cool treetop walkway.

Luckily we had fun on the treetop walkway before the heavens opened and it poured down with rain! We went to SE Asia at the cusp of the rainy season and apart from a few very very heavy showers we were very lucky with the weather!

We then headed back to our Airbnb with a cheap Grab to dry off and chill a bit before exploring more. For dinner we tried the vibrant Little India neighbourhood which was amazing for food!! We all tried a local Malaysian speciality called Nasi (rice) Lemak and a fresh coconut!

After finishing dinner we wanted to see the beauty of the Petronas Towers lit up at night so headed straight there to capture this iconic KL site!

We ended the day finding a rooftop bar to reward ourselves for walking so many steps around the city. How lucky we were to stumble upon this bar!! This rooftop bar is called the WET Deck and is situated inside a swanky hotel called W but the bar is open to anyone. It has one of most spectacular views of the Petronas Towers, tasty cocktails, good music and staff that know all the tricks to help you take the perfect pictures!

Day 2

After a full first day in KL we were up early again excited for the day ahead. On our second day we had planned to visit one of KL’s biggest attractions, the Batu Caves! These 3 caves are located on a limestone hill 11km outside the city centre. Climb the 272 rainbow steps to the top of the caves and take in the beautiful sights that lie before you!

Visit early in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat. Watch the monkeys surrounding the temple as they are known to be very cheeky!!

We took a Grab car to the temples for ease and managed to work out the metro to get back. “Work out” is the best turn of phrase because it is easy because there is a station right by the caves…however… the trains were very infrequent!

After walking up all those stairs at the caves we were definitely hungry for lunch! We headed back to Little India and tried a family run curry house. We decided to pick the banana leaf buffet which had a completely vegetarian option too!

The botanic gardens is another excellent way to escape the noise of the city! Spend some time walking around the lakeside gardens.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my first couple of days in SE Asia and looking forward to reading the rest of my posts! Please just send me a message via WordPress, Facebook of Instagram if you have any questions!

 

 

 

 

South East Asia – 2 – Pre-Trip Planning

It’s only 3 weeks until I head off to South East Asia and the countdown is officially on!

This blog post is going to be about how I have prepared for my first long-haul trip so far and will include how I have planned my accommodation, budget, medical care, activity planning and packing.

Accommodation

Am I really going on holiday without staying in an Airbnb? Probably not… unless its with my parents! I have stayed in many Airbnb’s around the UK and Europe and highly rate them for their affordability and experiences! To date, all my Airbnb’s have been clean and full of friendly locals willing to offer advice about the destination.

So far we have booked to stay 3 nights in Kuala Lumpur for £84, 4 nights in Hanoi for £171 and a beach bungalow on the island of Koh Rong Samloem for £132 for 3 nights.

We have another accommodation further down the island booked through booking.com and only need to book a couple of nights in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap!

If you would like money off your first Airbnb use my personal link when booking!

Budgeting

I have been working between part time and full time hours between university since the start of the year and have been trying to put £200 aside each month. In addition, the reduced section at the supermarkets have also been surprisingly helpful….I’ve started saving a lot on my weekly shopping and tried some new dishes! I was also lucky enough to borrow a backpack from a friend for the trip which has saved me between £60 and £150!

Medicine

We got a couple of injections from our local doctors a couple of months in advance so our bodies had time to absorb the medication. The travel nurse was very helpful advising us about the best medications to bring and injections to get according to the places we were travelling to. She advised to bring anti-malaria tablets, lots of suncream, anti-histamine, antiseptic and to buy an insect repellent with at least 50% of DEET. We will also include some Electrolyte powder in case of dehydration and normal painkillers.

I have also purchased travel insurance for £45 that covers £10 million for medical charges (better to be safe than sorry)!

Planning

Like I mentioned in the previous  I have loved looking at the Lonely Planet guidebooks for information about the history of the destination, must see attractions and a few off the beaten track suggestions.

In addition, I have been following various travel bloggers such as Highlands2Hammocks, Flip Flop Wanderers Marie Fe and Jake Snow who have all given me cool tips and serious inspiration for travelling South East Asia!

Before we were going to book more internal flights and accommodation last week we looked over our mini travel itinerary. THANK GOD we did because we would not have had time to breathe, never mind enjoy our experience because our plans were jammed packed! Unfortunately we have decided to miss out Da Nang, Hoi An and the Elephant Valley Project but this choice will definitely allow us to immerse ourselves in the culture of each city even more now!

Packing

It’s still a few weeks away so there is no point getting my clothes all creased yet…plenty of time for that! Butttt I have already decided that I will pack:

– 3 pairs of shoes (trainers, sandals and flip flops)

– 2 long skirts

– 1 play suit

– 2 dresses

– 1 shorts

– 2 pairs of light long trousers

– However many t-shirts I can fit

– Scarf/ shawl for visiting the temples

– 1 swimming costume and 2 bikinis

– 1 microfibre towel

– 1 beach towel (sand cloud)

– Small make-up bag ( moisturiser, BB cream, waterproof mascara, lip balm, matte lip gloss and a duo eyeshadow)

– Water bottle

– Travel adapter

The benefit of travelling with other girls is that we can share toiletries/ make- up etc!

Next time I write a blog post it will be after Asia!! In the meantime check out my Instagram  and Facebook 😀 

Reflecting on 2018

That time of the year has come around again and people are reflecting on their best, worst, unexpected and funniest moments of the past year. I can honestly say that 2018 has gifted me a year of adventure, new friends and more ambition than ever before. 

I would be lying if I said my year was perfect and without difficulties… but this year has shown me the importance of being happy and spending time with people who really appreciate you and all that you can offer.

Okay, novel over… below are a list of my top travel experiences, top travel tips and DREAMS for 2019!

3 Top Travel Experiences

1. Krka National Park, Croatia

I LOVED trekking through Krka National Park and discovering all the beautiful waterfalls! I visited in August this year which is their busiest month. To enjoy the national park at it’s best make sure you arrive when the park opens! One of my favourite moments was swimming under the Skradinski buk waterfall.

 Student entry with valid ID is MUCH CHEAPER!!! You can buy a student ticket at the park for 20 Kn / 2,69 € whereas the adult ticket is 80,00 Kn / 10,78 €.

Check out my blog post here

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2. New York City Skyline From The Empire State Building At Night

If this is not on your bucket list yet, it definitely should be! What a magical experience this was. I visited New York City with my family in October this year and used the 5 Day New York Pass. This pass granted us access to all of the city’s main attractions which is great if you are on a time limit!

Check out my blog post here!

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3. Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

The amount of times I have visited Germany this year has been unreal…I’ve kind of fallen in love with parts of the country.

However, out of the all the places I have visited in this country this is my very favourite spot…. you are never too old for fairytales.

There is the most perfect viewpoint of this castle if you drive to Zollersteighof Berghotel where there is a free car park. Then from the car park it’s about a 20 minute walk through the woods to a beautiful viewpoint complete with a carved seat!

Check out my blog post here!

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Top Travel Tips

1. Learn Basic Phrases

I know language learning is not everyone’s favourite thing…but it can really make your experience better if you make the effort to learn a few phrases! As well as making your experience as a traveller easier, the locals tend to really appreciate you taking time to learn some of their language.  Start small…hello”, “goodbye“, “thanks” and “cheers” usually gets you through most situations! Also, I always try learning a few words with the Duolingo app before travelling!

2. Register For A Travel Money Card

I only got one recently and wish I found out about this sooner! This card allows you to load 13 different currencies onto your card and withdraw from ATMs for a smaller transaction charge.  Go and register for one at your local post office! Another benefit is that you can top up your card by using an app on your phone (like mobile banking) wherever you are in the world.

3. Do Your Research

You will have a much better experience travelling if you do a little bit of research before you go! Studying event management does mean that I naturally love whipping up mini itineraries and discovering cool hot-spots (my favourite app to do this is Like A Local). 

Also, if you are travelling to a country that has a very different culture than you, out of respect it is good to familiarise yourself with the do’s and don’t’s! For instance, in 2019 I am hoping to travel to Malaysia and have already worked out that it is rude for a woman to shake the hand of the opposite sex!

Dreams For 2019!

 

1. Find A Graduate Job Abroad

2. Move Out of The UK

2. Learn To Drive….Finally….

3. Travel To Asia

4. Complete A1….maybe A2 in German

As that ties up the end of this blog post I just wanted to thank each and everyone of you who have supported my blog this year! I am always available for advice, recommendations or even just a chat.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and have the BEST NEW YEAR!

 

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HOW TO INCREASE YOUR BLOG PERFORMANCE

I would like to start this post by thanking you for supporting my blog so far! I have only been blogging regularly for 6 months now but I am proud to say I am now sitting at 118 subscribers, 2K views, 391 Instagram followers, 969 Twitter followers and 2 brand collaborations.

This blog post is all about how I got these results! 

1.  TWITTER 

I can honestly not thank the followers on Twitter enough! They have been a MASSIVE help and I would not be sitting on 2K without them. By bloggers reading my posts, liking and retweeting my content  I have managed to reach a much bigger audience than I ever thought imaginable. I’ve had my blog for over a year now but have only been active on Twitter since March and I have had 1,500 more views since then. That may not seem like much to people sitting on 10,000 views but trust me from going from on average 25 views a month to 500 really is something!

In addition, Blogger Trains are GOLD! They are a great way to get more readers as well as gain inspiration from other bloggers. You never know what you might find……or who might find you.Untitled design (24)

2. HOOTSUITE

Okay , this one is still Twitter related… but it’ll become your blogging best friend!

This is an app on your phone that is designed to make your life as a blogger or social media influencer EASIER.

FORGET the days where you come home from work and are disappointed about how neglected your site has been. Download the app….spend a few minutes with a cup of coffee scheduling your tweets for the next day (even the next week) and the engagement will come rolling in without you even lifting a finger.

I usually try to schedule around 5 tweets a day. Don’t worry about it being new content! No one could do that!! Just pick a few different blog posts each day, maybe even ask a question so you will get more interaction and feedback from your viewers.

 

3. FELLOW BLOGGERS

I have only been part of the blogging community for a short time, however I’ve found out that it’s full of THE MOST supportive people. As soon as I started putting my content on other social media platforms I managed to gain a great group of “blogger friends” who are always sharing and feed-backing on my blog posts.

In addition, I have joined various blogger groups such as Blogger Support created by Ellie Louise and Intrepid Entrepreneurs Community , created by the worldwide travellers, Hannah and Nate and UK Influencer Opportunities. These are the first places I go to for blogging related advice and to hear about oaid blogging opportunities.

Another reason why I RATE the Blogging Community is that you are often asked to feature as a “Guest Blogger”. This is when another blogger asks their favourite bloggers or people who fit their niche to write a post on their blog. This is an excellent way reach more people and gain a larger following!

As well as increasing your blog views you can also gain so much from other bloggers. I get lots of inspiration from reading these amazing blogs!

http://savingjoyfully.com/

http://svitforyou.com/

http://ellelouise.co.uk/

https://offtotheworld.com/

 

4. CANVA

 

Who doesn’t like a blog with pretty pictures right?! Well… lets top that and make pretty smartphone pictures look professional.

Canva is one of my favourite apps! I use it for my Instagram, blog images, Pinterest and Facebook cover-art.  It is completely free to use and has a million ways to enhance your your own images. Spend a few hours playing about with all the features and you’ll get the hang of it in no time!Untitled design (25)

5. AWIN

 

I’m not saying this is the way to make your millions…but it’s somewhere to start!

Awin as a website designed to promote and partner companies that offer affiliate programmes with bloggers. This website only has a £5 joining fee and can link you to thousands of companies around the world. The cliched phrase that comes to mind is “the world is your oyster”….but it really is!

At the moment I have joined the affiliate programmes offered by TripAdvisor, Trivago and Booking.com.

One of the best things about this site is that it works both ways! As well as bloggers taking the initiative to ask to partner with companies, companies can also find and offer programmes to bloggers! Give it a go at https://www.awin.com/gb

As I said at the start of this post, I am still a newbie! Thank you for your support so far, I can’t wait to learn new ways to improve my blog…who knows….maybe there will be a Part 2 to this post!