48 hours in Kuala Lumpur – An Itinerary

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and is known as the Garden City of Lights. It’s a sprawling metropolis and a gateway to the rest of Asia, with approximately 50 million passengers passing through it’s airport each year.

Kuala Lumpur - 48 hrs Logo

There is so much to do and see in this amazing city that 2 days just wouldn’t be enough. But if that’s all the time you’ve got to see Kuala Lumpur, check out this 48 hour itinerary to make sure you see the best KL has to offer.

Day 1 – arrive in kuala lumpur

Early afternoon and you’ve arrived in Kuala Lumpur; Drop your luggage off at your hotel/hostel and get out to see the city. What better place to start than where it all began?! A few minutes from the road from where Kuala Lumpur was established, you’ll find Merderka (Independence) Square, one of the best known landmarks in KL. The square is surrounded by beautiful architecture from the city’s colonial past. Take some time to enjoy the surroundings and read the info boards.

Kuala Lumpur - beginning

Kuala Lumpur or “Muddy Confluence” started here where the Gombak and Klang Rivers meet.

Feeling hungry? Head over to Jalan Alor for a truly Malaysian food experience. The street is lined with hawker food stalls selling so many varieties of food you’ll want to revisit.

Kuala Lumpur - PetronasTowers

In the evening make your way to KLCC to see what everyone comes to see: The Petronas Towers. Get your camera ready to capture those Instagram-worthy photos of the Malaysian Twin Towers which we think look way better at night. If you want a bird’s eye view of the city by night, why not book a tour for just MYR85 per adult, approximately £15 or $19.

day 2 – full day to explore

Kuala Lumpur - Batu CavesStart the day nice and early. Grab some breakfast at your hotel/hostel, jump on the train and head to Batu Caves. Just 11km north of the city, this limestone outcrop consists of three big caves containing Hindu shrines and temples.  A great opportunity to find out more about one of Malaysia’s main religions and grab some awesome photos. Warning: the steep 272 stair climb is not the faint-hearted and make sure you wear appropriate clothing.

Kuala Lumpur - Lake Gardens

After an hour or so, head back to the city.  Pay a visit to the beautiful and peaceful Botannical Gardens and enjoy some down time.

Now to grab some lunch; Head to the trendy Burkit Bintang area of KL for some healthy but delicious vegetarian food. Simple Life, located on the 2nd floor of the Lot 10 shopping mall serves amazingly fragrant and tasty meals which are organic, natural and nutritious. From noodle and rice dishes, to set menu hot pots and salads

Kuala Lumpur - Time Square Mall

The rest of the your afternoon will be taken up exploring the Berjaya Times Square mall. If there’s one thing there is no shortage of in Malaysia, it’s shopping malls. Times Square is a behemoth. Based over 10 floors containing hundreds of shops, food outlets, a multi-screen cinema, a 48 lane bowling alley, an Escape Room and Malaysia’s largest indoor theme park suitable for the whole family, there is no end of entertainment.

Having exhausted yourself traipsing round a mall, head back to your hotel/hostel for a quick rest and a shower. Put your glad rags on and head back out to Burkit Bintang and find Jalan Ceylon. Pick a table order some drinks and some food and party the night away!

Day 3 – last chance to see the sights

Hopefully you’re not all “shopped-out” yet. There are still two places you should definitely visit whilst you can in Kuala Lumpur. Head to Central Market to pick up some authentic Malaysian souvenirs. This is an indoor market with shops across two floors. There are also some stalls along the street outside.

Kuala Lumpur - Petaling Street

No visit to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without hitting up Petaling Street. At the heart of China Town this street is lined with shops, market stalls, cafes and hostels. The goods on offer may not be 100% authentic, but you can definitely grab a bargain or two! There is also plenty of stalls offering hot and cold food so you can grab an early lunch or late breakfast.

Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? What was your favourite thing to do? Do you think we missed off any “must-do’s”? Get in touch in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

Kuala Lumpur - Pin 2               Kuala Lumpur - 48 hrs Logo

Quirks of…Vietnam

It’s time for another “Quirks” post.  This time I’ll be highlighting some of the Vietnam quirks we spotted.  Unfortunately we had some camera issues whilst we were there; our memory card decided to corrupt resulting in most of our pictures looking like this:-

In spite of this…onward! Vietnam, the famous home of Ho Chi Minh; the location of the infamous Vietnam War (or American War, depending on whom you talk to) and now a bustling tourist destination.  We enjoyed our whistle-stop, two week trip down through Vietnam taking in six different locations and we spotted plenty of oddities.

Without further ado, onto the Vietnam quirks!
The Hats

I thought I would start with the most obvious!. The triangle hat; or as it’s known in Vietnam – Non lá, meaning leaf hat.  This hat, the stereotypical image of a Vietnamese person, isn’t just a stereotype.  Lots of people wear them, and not just out in the rice fields.  Walking around the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll see many a street seller and scooter rider wearing these! I ended up posing (and paying for) a picture wearing one whilst carrying two baskets of food across my shoulders.  Unfortunately this is one of the photos that fell victim to memory card corruption. That’s VND30,000/£1 down the drain!

The Buildings

Vietnam was heavily bombed during the aforementioned conflict and one side effect of this is plenty of space to build.  However, despite this they appear to have been very economical when designing buildings, as lots of them are really narrow! Even when they’re completely on their own and not wedged between other buildings, they are still built really skinny.  Quirky eh?!

The Language

Normally I try to avoid this obvious ‘difference’ as it is not a quirk, merely a part their being foreign to us.  However the Vietnamese language is quirky due to its influences.  As a result of more than 1,000 years of Chinese rule, Vietnam used to use symbols to depict its language. The sound of the language is also very reminiscent of Chinese.  Now it uses a Latin alphabet and the Vietnamese words, influenced by French (due to its occupation in the 19th and 18th centuries) can be quite quirky, including words such as “Ca Phe”, meaning Cafe.

Scooters, scooters, and electric bikes.

In a previous post I stated that the large number of scooters/mopeds was a quirk of Thailand. Compared to Vietnam, Thailand is a scooter free zone! Arriving in Hanoi all you will see is scooters, absolute hoards of them, in a non-stop line. On the roads; on the pavements; everywhere. But not just scooters. There is also a large number of electric bikes being ridden, which in the UK would be an oddity.  Surprisingly crossing the road is actually quite easy, you just walk slowly at the same pace and they manoeuvre around you. The short video above should be considered a very very quiet road based on the number of scooters – a humbling thought!

clothes shop mannequinsVietnam quirks

Given the current “mannequin challenge” craze sweeping the internet, this Vietnam quirk is quite  apt.  All clothes shops have them, you know the people-like models used to show you what the clothes would like on.  Well, in Vietnam they have decided to make the mannequins a little less ‘people-like’ by giving them long, elongated heads! It’s rather strange. We first came across these in Hoi-Ann but saw them in several other places too.

Money

The money itself, called the Vietnamese dong (stifles immature sniggering) isn’t the quirk. What is quirky is that they don’t appear to have any coins or secondary currency.  This isn’t strictly true however; Coins do exist and are in circulation but you just don’t see them anywhere and the banks have had issues with traders not accepting them.  There have also been two secondary currencies the hao and the xu (1/10 and 1/100 respectively) but due to there ridiculously low value – £1 is equal to almost 30,000 dong, they were scrapped sometime ago. Finally there are still cotton-fibre bank notes in circulation that are accepted!

Taxi horns

As a result of the large level of traffic on the roads, there is a substantial and almost continuous amount of “honking”.  However, amongst the cacophony of horns there is one that stands out: the taxi horns.  They have a distinctive echoing sound which is quite bizarre and terrifying if it goes off when you’re stood next to it.

Basket boats

Vietnam quirks

One thing sure to catch your eye on many a Vietnamese beach, is hemi-spherical basket boats, or “thung chai”.  Dating back to French colonial times and trying to avoid the levied tax on boat ownership, these boats are made from hammered bamboo covered in water proof resin.  I think they’re really cute, but apparently very hard to row (I didn’t have the opportunity to try).

Xe-clo’s (Cyclo’s)

Whilst these are not solely found in Vietnam, there was a heavy concentration in Hanoi and HCMC especially, and its where we first came across them.  A three-wheeled bicycle taxi, consisting of a chair (which may or may not be big enough for two) backed by a bicycle, these are used to ferry tourists around.  Dating again back to the French colonoial era, you will sure to spot one of these hailing you for a ride.

Street beer

Finally, and possibly my favourite Vietnam quirk (despite not actually partaking in any, somehow!) is the street beer sellers.  World street food is becoming more and more popular but this is the first time we have come across street beer.  Kegs of beer will be delivered to a trader, with a spot on the pavement and a few plastic chairs, and a glass of beer will be sold for approximately 15p or VND5,000. The beer is brewed not to last, so has to be drunk within 24 hours. Once the beer is gone, the trader packs up.  Strolling around the streets in the evening you cannot miss these!

Have you been to Vietnam? Did you spot any of these Vietnam quirks, or see some others that we haven’t mentioned? We’d love to hear from you so get in touch below in the comments.

 

             
 

7 Budget Friendly Things to do in the Cameron Highlands

In our recent blog update, we mentioned that we spent a few days up in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. With C’s mum in tow, we had a lovely time enjoying the cooler temperatures and the surrounding greenery.

I thought I would write a post summarizing what there is to do in the Cameron Highlands. This gives you an insight into what we got up to and offers a helpful guide to others when deciding whether to visit.  The best bit about some of these, is that they are absolutely free! Continue reading

300 Days Travelling on the Road – Our Favourite Things

We made it! We’ve now been travelling for over 300 days! We hope you all had a great Christmas, we certainly did and we’re looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us.

We haven’t done a favourite things post for a long time, our last was when we reached 150 days. Since then our travelling has taken us to Thailand both north and down south on the islands; we did a whistle-stop trip down through Vietnam and spent time in Malaysia. We volunteered at a party hostel, had a lovely visit from C’s mum and D’s parents came to see us for a week in Cambodia. Now we’re in Sydney where we’ve spent Christmas and New Year.

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Merry Christmas from Love C and D

Season’s greetings Love C and D’ers!  The big day has finally arrived; the stress of getting the decorations up, buying all the food and ceaselessly searching out those gifts  is over.  Put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy a fantastic, family-filled, fun-fuelled Christmas Day.

Christmas - Merry Christmas

We just wanted to write a short post to say thank you to all of you, for your support over the last 10 months. Whether it’s reading and commenting on our blog posts, liking our Instagram posts, Retweeting our tweets or sharing our Facebook posts.  Without you it wouldn’t be worth it.

We’ve had an absolutely brilliant 10 months of travelling the world. From our initial nervous beginnings in Rio, to driving across State lines to the Grand Canyon in the US.  From a rocky start in Bangkok to finally getting my PADI Open Water scuba diving certification in Phuket. We’ve seen things and visited places that some people can only dream of and we’re feeling very blessed.

So firstly have a very merry Christmas. Eat lots, be grateful for whatever gifts you receive, make the most of the all important family time and remember, you’re celebrating the birth of Jesus! Secondly, we hope you enjoy seeing in the new year in spectacular fashion – we will be with fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge!  And finally we send you our best wishes for a prosperous 2017.

Love C and D x

Hand Luggage Update – Nine Months In

Back in March, while planning our trip, we had no idea what size bag to get. We knew we really wanted to only ever need to take hand luggage on planes, but then we got stuck. We googled a bit, and looked in shops and ended up getting C’s 30L backpack and D’s 35L backpack.

After publishing a post a few days before we left about what we’d packed, which you can read here and laugh at my poor html tabling skills. I’d always thought I would do a follow up at the 6 months mark, just to let everyone know how we were getting on.

Somehow though, time passes much faster when you’re not posting blogs than it does when you are! But, only 3 months later than originally planned, here is an update on what we carry in our two carry-on bags. Continue reading