RAILAY BEACH, THAILAND – FIRST TIME VISITOR

Railay, also known as Rai Leh, is a large peninsula between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand. Although Railay is attached to mainland Thailand in Krabi province, it is not connected to any roads because it is entirely surrounded by limestone cliffs and only accessible by boat where most holiday goers locate themselves. It boasts an abundance of postcard-perfect beaches catering to couples looking for a secluded romantic getaway, parents hoping to build sand castle for little ones and travellers who are ready to dance to chilled-out house as the sun goes down. It is also a haven for rock climbers who flock from all over the world aside from its beautiful beaches, cascading waterfalls, caves, and emerald turquoise sea and a stretch shoreline with pristine white sand.

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Railay has two main parts:

  • Railway Beach West is the place to go if you want to swim and lay on the sand. This is where better beaches are. It is line up with restaurants and shops and it is also the entrance to the walking street. 

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The Walking Street

This lane gathers a good deal of shops and bars and restaurants which offered cheaper alternatives for those who are keen on spending big Bahts on dinner at the hotel restaurants.

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The Walking Street

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  • Railway Beach East  is a little more secluded. It doesn’t have a proper beach, but it makes a nice walk along the shore. It also offer plenty of bars and restaurants, plus a wide variety of accommodation.

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Railay West is the area where we opted to stay. It is approximately 45 minutes drive from Krabi International Airport and 15 minutes by long tail boat from Ao Nam Mao Beach to resort.

To be honest, when my partner and I saw Railay Beach for the first time, we were so over excited that we just wanted to fly and go right away. We did not do our research properly and thought that we could reach Railay by road to our hotel. When we arrived in Krabi Thailand International Airport the lady from the tour agency told us that we need to catch a taxi or a shuttle van going to Ao Nam Mao Beach and from Ao Nam Mao Beach we need to catch a long tail boat. It was already late in the afternoon when we reached Ao Nam Mao Beach.

Ao Nam Mao pier is just down the beach that has a cement stairs off to the long tail boat which is easy to navigate. However, fellow tourists and locals stood on either side of my partner as he navigated the path. On the last step Jaime a fellow traveller helped him to lift his leg onto the long tail boat.

My partner is suffering from lymphedema (a swelling of a body part-most commonly an arm or leg – caused by excess lymph fluid connecting in body tissue). My partner experience frustrations because he is not able to utilize his leg the way they used to and the limb can feel heavy and painful. He loss his balance and he is limping when walking. He can barely climb steps, find walking distances difficult.  

From Ao Nam Mao Beach going to our hotel in Railay West we had to walk in their floating pontoon made of plastic interlocked boxes which is really stable and onto the footpaths. My partner called it as ” The Pier Going to Hell” hehe…It is a few hundred meters walked so if you are bringing a lot of gear or kids be prepared.

Travelling with a person with disability is tough and hard. It was hard and difficult for us but we will be forever grateful to the locals and fellow travellers who assisted and help us all the way from Ao Nam Mao Beach to Railay. As a traveller it is great to be resourceful and independent, but also to rely on the kindness of strangers. 

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Floating pontoon.

THINGS TO DO IN RAILAY BEACH

1.) Relax on Railay Beach

Railay Beach is pristine and is always quiet far from the usual crowded tourists spots. Here you can relax and lay on the sand and read a book, listening to music or walk the long sandy stretch, go swimming, watch sunset, go kayaking, go paddle boarding, play volley ball, got a massage under the trees and more.

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2.) Rock Climbing

Railay is famous for its towering limestone cliffs one of the reason why tourists from all over the world flock here for rock climbing. There are plenty of companies which offer courses for beginners and excursions for those, who are more experienced.

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Photo from Railay Rock Climbing Shop

3.) Diving and Snorkelling

If you visit Railay you can not leave without going diving or snorkelling. Many tourists and professional divers visit Railay just to go snorkelling or diving. The water around the beach is clear which is very enjoyable for diving and snorkelling.

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4.) Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding or SUP

This is one of the calmest and most scenic water sports in Railay. The waters around Railay are calm and safe for swimming and kayaking. You can rent a kayak from vendors, or resorts, on the beach. The cost is around 100 Baht per hour.

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5.)  Go for an Island Hopping Tour

Don’t miss this fun activities when you are in Krabi. I booked the Phi Phi Early Bird + 4 Islands by Speed Boat with Krabi Ezy Trails. I highly recommend this tour company. Our guide Matt and Theresa and their team are professional. It was fun and very entertaining. They made us sure that we were safe during our island hopping tour. They give us freedom to enjoy the whole day trip.

Phi Phi Early Bird + 4 Islands By Speed Boat Itineraries

To ensure that we will enjoy our whole day tour and to avoid the crowds the team of Krabi Ezy Trails pick us up in our resort and depart at approximately 7:00 am.

You can visit their site if you wish to book online at http://www.krabiezytrails.com

Maya Bay – Sightseeing

Our first  stop made famous by Danny’s Boyle’s 2000 film ” The Beach”  starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Maya Bay has been exhausted by mass tourism which made Thai authorities to shut it down to help recover damaged coral reefs and sea life caused by too many tourists. However, tourists and visitors can still take photos from boats. As long as the boats do not pass over any coral reefs.

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Pi Leh Bay / Pileh Cove ” The Lagoon” – Swimming

This is one of my favorite stop during our island hopping tour and one of the most impressive sites on Koh Phi Phi Leh. It is separated from Maya Bay by a sheer limestone cliff. The water inside this lagoon is crystal clear emerald-green and the views are absolutely stunning. The lagoon is surrounded by towering cliffs and water is so inviting that you will jump off the boat and enjoy swimming here. The lagoon is a great opportunities for taking photos too as well.

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Viking Cave – Sightseeing off the Speedboat

Just before the entrance to Pi Leh Lagoon there is a cave that the locals call Viking Cave. It is home to the swiftest that make the bird’s nest are harvested to make “Birds nest soup” that are famous in Asian culture. Traditional Chinese medicine believed that bird’s nest soup have high nutrients and medicinal value.The bird nests harvested here can fetch up to 2,000 USD in the open market! The birds’ nest are very difficult to gather resulting in the price for bird’s nest soup being some of the most expensive food in the world.

The wiry bamboos branches that you are seeing are used by local men who climb up the poles to collect birds’ nest. 

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Monkey Beach – Snorkelling and Swimming

Is a stunning long strip of white powdery sand fringed by emerald water and a home to a colony of monkeys that will entertain you with their Muay Thai skills! 🙂  The beach has a lush vegetation’s which offers monkeys a comfortable habitat, which where it gets its name from. Monkey beach is not only famous for its furry inhabitants but also a great spot for snorkelling.

Avoid feeding the monkeys so they won’t expect something to eat when they see visitors coming and do not go to close to them. These monkeys  are wilds they might scratch and bite you. Remove all your personal belongings as the monkeys are very curious and thieves! Maintain a safe distance at least 10 meters for your safety.

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Loh Samah or Nui Bay – Swimming and Snorkelling

Nui Bay is famous for a pretty walled beach, caves, coral reef and Camel Rock. We stop here for swimming and snorkelling and enjoy under water exploring colorful tropical reef and marine life with tropical fishes.

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Bamboo Island – Snorkelling / Swimming / Lunch

This island is entirely surrounded by a strip of powdery white sand with crystal clear water. Its central part is covered with lush vegetation and bamboo trees that gave its name to the island. 

Bamboo island offers a great snorkelling opportunities. It stands a notable coral reef known as Hin Klang which provides its visitors with the feeling of swimming in an aquarium.

It is also a perfect gateway from the crowds where tours would make a stop here for a lunch. 

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Koh Kai ( Chicken Island) – Sightseeing / Taking Photos

Koh Kai meaning “Chicken Island” in Thai is a small island belonging to the Poda group of islands. Koh Kai takes it name from the chicken-shaped rock-forming its southern tip. Most island hopping tours from Krabi and Phuket make a short stop at this picturesque limestone chicken, giving visitors a cool photo opportunity.

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Koh Mor and Koh Tub – Swimming

Koh Tap ( also spelled Koh Tup, Koh Tub or Koh Thap) and Koh Mor are two tiny islands that belong to the Mu Koh Poda group. These two islets are linked by a sandbar which, at low tide, also enables you to walk to Koh Kai ( Chicken Island).

Both sides of the sand bar offer a great snorkelling in a crystal clear waters.

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Mu Koh Rhoda or Poda Island – Swimming / Snorkelling 

The scenery and soft sand makes the island very popular destination for snorkelers and sea kayakers.  It is covered with palm and pine trees and encircled by a soft white sand beach.

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WHERE TO STAY IN RAILAY BEACH

Accommodations are abundant on Railay East but this part of the peninsula is not blessed by a beautiful sandy beaches and is more of a mangrove swamp. Railway East when tide goes out it is a bit swampy with the mangroves and a bit noisy because it is nearer to nightlife scene. It is also used as “the back door” of Railay, the goods delivery point for all the hotels, as well as the pier for taxi boats to and from Krabi Town and Ao Nam Mao.

Railay West has a number of mid-range hotels with stunning views and the sea has the finest beaches. This is where you will find big resorts offering high quality accommodations. Evenings are blissfully quiet here but in the day is a bit busy because it is also the arrival and departure point for long tail boats from Ao Nang.

Walk from Railay East to the Railay West beach is only about 5-10 minutes.

We opted to stay in Railay Village Resort and Spa located in Railay West. The location is lovely right on the stunning beach and next to the walking street of bars and restaurants that leads to the east side. It offers spacious, comfortable rooms and combines a relaxing view that makes it an ideal choice for travellers looking for a luxury hotel with affordable price.

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Photo credit to Railay Village Resort and Spa
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Photo credit to Railay Village Resort and Spa
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Photo credit to Railay Village Resort and Spa

For more information about Railay Village Resort and Spa please click the link below:

http://www.railayvillagekrabi.com

This trip was quite adventurous yet very memorable for us. It teaches us lots of lessons to learn. It made us more equipped with knowledge, which has eventually made us a wiser person. We love to travel and travelling with disability can be challenging but with careful planning, patience, and some help along the way, we can make it happen.

 

 

 

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HOW TO TAKE GREAT PHOTOS OF YOURSELF

Everyone these days has some kind of social media account, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so many platforms loaded with selfies.

There’s definitely an art creating a good selfie, I’ve been part of some disastrous selfies where half of my head is cut off, lighting is off, I look old than my age, the angle is not right. It is difficult to be both behind the camera and in front of the camera.

You need a lot of patience and not worrying about being silly in taking your own photos. Don’t mind people staring at you 🙂 Once you master the techniques you will be fine in taking your own photos.

For people who are curios and just want to know some tips on taking perfect pictures of myself here are my secrets:

1.TURN AROUND

Turning your back from the camera is hard to mess up. You can make weird faces and be silly, but your photo will still come out perfect.

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When using this technique you should use a tripod and remote or rest your camera on a ledge somewhere and use the self timer.

2. SELF-TIMER

The best and simplest way of taking a photo of yourself is using a self-timer on your camera or phone. If you’re using this method you will need a tripod or a flat even surface that will hold your camera steady. You could rest your camera on posts, boulders, table top, fence or the hood of the car.

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3. ADD MOVEMENT

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Setting your camera to continuous mode and then adding movement will look your photos smooth and natural.

You can do this add movement by:

  • Walking
  • Touching your hair or your hat
  • Raising your arms
  • Twirling

4. DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE CAMERA

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Tilting your head away slightly will give your features depth. I like this pose. It add up a bit of drama and mystique. 

5. KNOW YOUR ANGLES

We all have a better side to our face for pictures. The best way to do this is to take a look at your favorite pictures of yourself and try to spot the pattern. Do you like certain angles best? Do you like certain ways you smile? Try to remember them and replicate them for next time!

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The easiest way to do is to bend your knees when sitting to add element of dimension to your photos or rest your foot up against the wall.

6. WEAR A HAT

This is one of my favorite accessories when taking photos of myself. I love hats and I always bring my hat/s with me when I travel. Wearing a hat will add texture and playfulness to your look.

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7. PROP IT UP

Using this technique you will feel more comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera.

Here are some of prop ideas:

  • Cup of coffee / travel mug
  • Cafe / Restaurant
  • Flowers / Plants
  • Balloons
  • Umbrella
  • Hat

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8. WEAR A DRESS ( or SKIRT)

Wearing a dress for photo shoot are great. You feel less self-conscious about your body appears in the photos and you feel quite girly too.

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9. AND LASTLY, HAVE FUN, SMILE AND ENJOY!

If you like my photos, follow me on Instagram @wanderlustfreespirit

 

P.S. My partner travel with me all the time but he is not my official photographer. When I asked him to take photos of me it would be a disaster hehe.. if not blurry my eyes are closed. So who takes my photos simply it’s me. I just use a flat surface to mount my camera and set the timer. While tripod come with many benefits that allow you to get clear, sharp images, sometimes carrying around can actually be a hindrance. It just depends on you, your preferred style and your shooting habits.

 

 

 

KAREN LONG NECK TRIBE – LIFE IN THAILAND

One of the tourist attractions in Northern Thailand is a visit to Karen Long Neck Tribe. It is a village near by the border of Myanmar where the Karen tribe lives. I’ve heard about this tribes on tv documentary, National Geographic Magazine and reviews from tourists who have been in the village. Finding out more of their story how their vulnerability has been exploited both by government agencies and tourism industries it started to feel uncomfortable to visit the place. That makes me think if these people are for tourist attractions? It is unethical to treat them like a human zoo.

However, we signed up for a one day tour in Chiang Mai and part of the tour is a visit to Karen Long Neck Tribe so we have to go as my goal is to see and make a connections with them to create a symbolic relationship by reaching out to find a common ground instead of treating them as spectacles to exploit.

WHO ARE THE KAREN LONG NECK TRIBE?

This tribe originally lives in the mountains of Myanmar near by the Thailand border. Thousands of their members have fled to Myanmar to live in Thailand because of the conflict in their home country. Thailand granted them a temporary stay under ” conflict refugee”status. Some left Burma because of suppression and exploitation. Burmese soldiers would demand to hand over some of their crops or farm animals to the soldiers. Those who refused to do so  would frequently end up in retributions and killing.

The tribe has a custom where some women need to wear a brass coils around their necks  to create the appearance of a long neck but in real life these women do not have an extra long neck. Some wear heavy rings around their forearms and on the lower part of their legs which is different from the rings they wear on their neck.

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This Karen woman wear 25 rings around her neck.

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THE RINGS

An ancient legend claimed that wearing the rings around their neck will protect them from tiger attacked, since the cats attacked victims at the neck and protect their tribe from extinction. However, some women wear rings around their necks respecting their ancestor traditions. The more rings women can wear on her neck, the more beautiful she is.  Short necks are considered unattractive.  

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Women of Karen tribe start to wear brass coil at an early age, anytime between five years old to nine. The weight of a brass coil worn by the Karen tribe differ by age and length of time she has worn it. By the time the girls turned 15 they are able to choose if they will continue to wear rings all throughout their life or will they stop wearing it.

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However, as the tradition evolved only girls who were born on the Wednesday night during a full moon were adorned with the neck rings. Girl who was born on Wednesday night must wear the neck rings throughout her life. Refusal to wear the neck-rings will cause her to be exiled from the community. 

EXPLOITATION AND  TOURISM ..WHAT KIND OF LIFE THEY HAVE IN THAILAND?

These people are living with a refugee status. Thai government pays more attention to promoting them as tourist attractions. Tour operators make a sizeable income from bringing tourist to the village but the village themselves get very little one.

Tourist operators have been able to exploit the economic marginality and vulnerability  of the tribe to their own advantage.

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Today girls are encouraged to wear the brass coils around their necks for tourists attractions and  to make money from the tourist village authority.  The more tourists who come to visit them; the better are their chances of earning an income.

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This pretty young lady is sixteen years old but never been into school.  Women are not allowed to go to school only men. She said she learned her english from talking with tourists like us.

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WHERE ARE THE MEN OF KAREN LONG NECK TRIBE?

In Burma, men are known to be hard-working in providing for their family basic needs. They are skilled farmers but life is not the same for men and women in Thailand. The women are the main provider for the family. Besides wearing the brass coils around their neck which brings them a monthly payment from the village tourism authorities, they make a quite substantial earnings from selling scarves and souvenirs. Scarves are the only product which is tribe make themselves. Women focus their occupation towards tourism as the ” tourism” industry offers a better opportunity for cash than agriculture. They need to be their morning and evening to entertain tourists but can still continue to do their weaving in front of their huts.

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Men of the families are allowed to work in agriculture in their own village. With limited knowledge and technical skill and government imposed restriction on their movement, makes it impossible for men to get paid jobs away from their village. Their traditional agricultural skill is no use as there is very limited land for cultivation in their village where they are allocated to stay.

They are not allowed either to go anywhere. they must remain in the tourist village set up the government. It appears that these people do have some basic rights on the paper, but sadly they much non-existent considering the restrictions that also applies to their status which is a violation of their human rights.

On the other hand children are allowed to go to school but in order to do that they must learn Thai language first which is quite impossible for them to actually go to school.

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The road going to the village is a slippery dirt slope.  The whole structure of the village is planned as a “tourist setting” a kind of living museum. It was very depressing, even among all the bright colors, designs and patterns.

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Tourism industry has not delivered a better life to them. There is no infrastructure development, electricity supply, clean water supply, sealed roads, public transportations from the village to town, qualified doctors or nurses in the village health centers. Thailand has not improved the tribe standard of living nor significantly lifted their life chances.

A travel to Karen Long Neck Tribe open my eyes to the reality of their lives and the daily struggles that they face. Unethical, authentic or not as what some people would say, the important value that I learned from this tour is it humbles me and offers a big boost of humanity.

If you chose to visit the village please consider these recommendations:

  • Do not just stop for a photo shoot. Try to extend your stay to learn about the people and  hear their stories.
  • Support the village by purchasing their handcrafts.
  • Give a donation.
  • Do your own research and find a responsible tour company that will promote social responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

INSTAGRAM AND PHOTOGRAPHY SPOTS IN KUALA LUMPUR

Are you coming to Kuala Lumpur and looking for the best spots around the city are for instagram and photography?  There’s so much to explore and photos opportunities are endless but I have put together a list that will make your friends jealous the moment they see it in their feed.

1. Sultan Abdul Samad BuildingIMG_0061.JPG

2. Merdeka SquareIMG_0065.JPG

3. Jamek MosqueIMG_0068.JPG

4.KLCC PARKIMG_0071.JPG

5. Petronas Twin TowersIMG_0073.JPG

6. Thean Hou TempleIMG_0076.JPG

7. Batu Caves VillaIMG_0079.jpg

8. Guan Di TempleIMG_0081.JPG

9. Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur Maze GardenIMG_0088.jpg

10. Sri Mahanariamman TempleIMG_0095.JPG

11. Batu CavesIMG_0101.JPG

12. Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur – Lobby AreaIMG_0100.jpg

13.  Arthur’s Bar and Grill ( Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur)IMG_0103.JPG

14. Lemon Garden ( Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur Restaurant )IMG_0105.JPG

15. The Iconic Clock Tower of Sultan Abdul Samad Building

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DIY THREE DAYS ITINERARY KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and the main gateway to the rest of the country. This “Garden City of Lights” is the home of the spectacular Petronas Twin Towers. 

Boasting with gleaming skyscrapers, lush parks, bustling street markets, colonial architecture, and a myriad of natural attractions of old and new can be found in Kuala Lumpur. It might be a big city, but is not as busy as Singapore, Bangkok and Manila. Despite the modernization, Kuala Lumpur has managed to retain its rich heritage of culture and traditions.

Here is the comprehensive guide / itinerary during my three days stay in Kuala Lumpur

DAY 1

PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS

No trip in Kuala Lumpur without a visit to the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the most recognised landmarks of Malaysia. The twin towers is the home to Petronas, an oil and gas company.

You need to book your ticket in advance or take a chance in a ridiculously long queue to get a ticket. In my case, I opted to settle for an outside view and enjoy the enormous towers.

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One of the Petronas Towers Spires

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EXPLORE SURIA KLCC

Suria KLCC is an upmarket retail center at the feet of the Petronas Towers. It features mostly foreign luxury goods and high-street labels. Boasting about 300 stores, Suria KLCC is touted as one of the largest shopping malls in Malaysia.

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EXPLORE KLCC PARK

Located below the building is the KLCC Park. It has a jogging and walking paths, a fountain with an incorporated light show, wading pools and a children’s playground. It is a 50 acre garden set close to Suria KLCC shopping center. It is designed to provide a touch of greenery for the Petronas Twin Towers and the surrounding area.

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Public children’s swimming pool.

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GO SHOPPING / EXPLORE CHINA TOWN

The lively, colorful, vibrant Chinatown or known as “Chee Cheong Kai”  is situated right near the well-known Petaling street. It is filled with an array of markets stalls offering all kinds of goods, a bargain hunter’s paradise. This is a place where you can find all sorts of stuff from Chinese herbs to imitation goods.

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VISIT NEARBY TEMPLES

GUAN DI TEMPLE

Guan Di Temple is one of the most impressive Chinese temples in Kuala Lumpur or also known as Kuan Ti Temple. It is easily recognisable because of its vibrant orange facade. The temple is easy to locate as it is parallel to the busy Petaling street. 

The origin of this temple comes from one of China’s greatest warriors known as General Kwan, Guan Di or Guan Yu.  He was given the title of ” God of War” and many had chosen to worship him due to his excellent fighting war and skills.

Stepping inside the temple you will see a numerous hanging incense that will give you a feeling of serenity and calmness.

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SRI MAHAMARIAMMAN  TEMPLE

This is the oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia and is one of the most popular temples among worshippers and visitors alike. It is also reputed to the richest in the country. The temple was originally located somewhere near the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. It was then moved to its present location along Jalan Tun H.H. Lee next to KL’s Chinatown and close to Guan Di Temple.

The Sri Mahamariamman temple boasts various intricate architecture of gods and goddess carved against the walls, roofs, and pillars in different size and shapes.

The temple is open daily and open to public. Entrance to the temple is free of charge. Please take note, visitors are not allowed in with their shoes on. Beside the temple is a safe place where you can store your shoes and a minimal ringgit is charged for storing your shoes. Otherwise you may just place it outside at your own risk.

This is a house of worship so please dress properly.

Outside the temple are several kiosks sell saffron-colored marigold flower garlands for worshippers, some Indian food and desserts.

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DAY 2

BATU CAVES 

Batu Caves is an iconic and popular attractions in Selangor about 12 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur. This limestone Hindu temples are built in the cave. Its main attraction is the large statue of the Hindu God at the entrance and are reachable by  272 steps where poojan (a prayer ritual performed by Hindus of devotional worship to one or more deities) is performed. It is the focal point of Hindu festival Thaipusam. The Batu Caves is dedicated to Lord Murugan.

Monkeys frolics as you ascend and descend the stairs so be better careful with your bags.

How to get to the Batu Caves.

The Batu Caves are easily reachable from the center of Kuala Lumpur. For RM20 / RM25 you can take a taxi, when the driver is driving on the meter it will be even cheaper. From the bus station Puduraya in Chinatown two buses also have a route to the Batu Caves, 11/11d and U6. The bus will take you to the Batu Caves in about 45 minutes. The easiest way is by taking the KTM Commuter train that goes from KL Sentral to Batu Caves station in less than 20 minutes. A ticket to KL Sentral will only cost a few ringgits.

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From the top you can see the stunning view of the city.

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VISIT AND EXPLORE SULTAN ABDUL SAMAD BUILDING

Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a home to the Ministry of information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia and sits beside the old Railway Station. Though it is no longer serves an official purpose, it remains one of the city’s most important tourist attractions and a historical landmark of the city. 

The building features a strong gothic, western and Moorish style influences. Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building you’ll find the confluence of the Klang River and Gombak River, as well as Masjid Jamek ( Jamek Mosque).

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VISIT MASJID  JAMEK MOSQUE  

One of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia besides being the oldest one in town is that it was built on the first Malay Burial Ground in Kuala Lumpur. It is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River.  It is known as the Friday Mosque. 

The architecture of the mosque is a combination of Moorish, Islam and Magul. The mosque is always packed with devotees and also tourists. This is one place to visit to appreciate the ancient architecture with a combination design of different cultures.

While Masjid Jamek Mosque is open to public daily ( apart from Fridays), visitors can only enter the mosque after prayer times.

There are robes and headscarves that can be borrowed at the mosque entrance.  The mosque encourage visitors to dress conservatively ( sleeveless shirts, shorts or skimpy clothing are prohibited). and wear shoes you can easily removed before entering the prayer halls.

The mosque is easily reached by Star LRT (station Masjid Jamek). Using the KL-Monorail, go Hang Tuah station, transfer to the Star LRT.

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VISIT MERDAKA SQUARE

Merdeka Square or formerly known as the Selangor Club Padang or simple the “Padang”  ( meaning “field” in Malay) and was used as the cricket green of the Selangor Club ( now the Royal Selangor Club).

Merdeka Square is situated in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It has a wide-open space with a great view of the city’s most impressive old buildings.

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VISIT KUALA LUMPUR NATIONAL GALLERY

National Gallery Kuala Lumpur is an art gallery situated along Jalan Tun Razak across Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

The gallery displays paintings, sculptures, batik and other works done by artists from Malaysia and all over the world.

If you like art, this is a good place to see for yourself.

Guided tours are available at specific time of the day and is free of charge. Tuesdays to Sundays except Fridays: 11:00 am and 2:30pm. Fridays: 10:30 am and 3:00pm.

All you need to do is assembled at the information counter before the tour time and you will be taken on an organized tour of the art gallery.

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VISIT THEAN HOU TEMPLE

Thean Hou Temple known as the Temple of the Goddess of Heaven is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia located along Jalan Klang Lama. The temple is set on a hill and offers a stunning view of the city.

Stepping inside the temple you can see a modern Buddhist pagoda and plenty of Buddha images enshrined in the octagonal hall. It also features a Chinese medicinal herbs garden and tortoise pond along with a well, beside the temple is a sacred Boddhi tree.

Thian Hou Temple is also popular for wedding venue among KL’s Chinese locals and even conducts fortune-telling readings as well as traditional Chinese exercise and martial arts activities.

The temple is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00pm.  

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DAY 3

Since we opted to stay in Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur I was able to explore and get lost in Shangri-La maze garden before heading back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

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There are so many things to do in Kuala Lumpur 3 days won’t be enough but hopefully this Kuala Lumpur itinerary will help.

DUYAN CAFE – A SOUL MOUNTAIN CAFE

High above the city is Duyan Cafe nestled in the peaceful mountains of Lantawan. Duyan Cafe is an escape from the big city grind, located along the road going to Sitio Lantawan Guimbalaon Silay City, Negros Occidental.

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Recently, Duyan Cafe is a favorite destination for locals, expats and tourists alike to come and enjoy, relax after stressful working days. The place would completely erase the hustle and bustle of the big city from your senses. Breathe in the fresh mountains air, admire the stunning views, feel the gentle breeze against your skin, as you savor the local delicacies  and relax.

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You can sit on the deck or you can settle in one of the many wooden tables and benches with an open atmosphere.

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The inside is small, but the interior is decorated in a simple, sweet country-style and the open atmosphere both the interior and exterior create a feeling of your personal secluded oasis especially if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

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Duyan (Hammock) strings on the ceiling.

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What nice in this place is the spacious outdoor deck filled with wooden tables and chairs which is very available for you to enjoy the scenery, beckoning you to stay for an hours or end.

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The surrounding rainforest, the views of the mountains and greenery are incredible. So if you feel like unwinding after a long day, pop into Duyan Cafe.

How to get there:

  • If you are from Bacolod, ride a Ceres bus from North Terminal or a jeepney going to Silay City. Ask the driver to drop you off at Silay public market.
  • At the back of Silay Public Market ride a jeepney going to Barangay Guimbalaon (Sitio Mansiginon).
  • From Sitio Mansiginon you can hire a Habal – Habal (Habal-Habal is a highly improvised two-wheeled single motorcycle usually ridden beyond its passenger capacity. Since it is used as public transportation especially in areas with narrow roads, and steeper, rougher terrain, it could possibly carry up to 6 passengers, at the least) going to Duyan Cafe.

Or if  you have a car, take the road going to the Bacolod-Silay Airport, turn right before the entrance of the airport take that road until you reach the place (approximately 21 km away from the airport or 25-30 minutes ride.

Duyan Cafe is open Wednesday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.

The opening time may vary so please check their FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/Duyan-Café-1626701417423539/

 

 

 

PLACES TO INCLUDE IN YOUR SINGAPORE ITINERARY IN 2018

BOTANIC GARDEN

Wander through the swaths of virgin rainforest with many-colored collection of orchid species and hybrids. Stroll around the gardens and enjoy the wonderful sighs, sounds and wonders the luscious greenery offers.

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Clock Tower at Botanic Garden

BUGIS

One of Singapore’s key shopping destinations. Home to the largest market in Singapore. Bugis is popular with both locals and tourists. Bugis Street Market is well-known for being one of the cheapest places in Singapore to buy souvenirs, accessories, clothes, shoes, bags, cosmetics.

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Bugis Junction has a lane of colonial style shop houses selling locally design dresses, tops, accessories, bags, shoes etc. There are cute instagrammable cafes as well where you cn sip coffee while taking your instagram OOTD poses.

CHINA TOWN

This is an area in Singapore that’s proud of its heritage, and has so much to offer. There are ornate Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu temples, museum galore, bustling streets lined with old colorful shop houses. There are plenty of retail stores where you can purchase clothing, accessories and souvenirs as well.

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CHINESE AND JAPANESE GARDENS 

This is an ideal place to go and visit if you are looking for some peace and serenity. A quiet place to stroll or jog and a perfect spot of photography. The gardens are very popular with photographers and lately cosplayers.

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CHINESE PAGODA

THE FLOWER DOME

Stand in awe as you stepped into the Flower Dome. It is the largest glass greenhouse in the world as listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records!

Flower Dome is open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00pm

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CLOUD FOREST CONSERVATORY

The Cool-Moist Conservatory that showcases plant life from tropical highlands up to 2,000 metres above sea level. It features a 35-metre-tall mountain covered in lush vegetation, shrouding the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. There is lift  to the top of the mountaintop of cloud forest and there you can take a stroll along a walkway in the clouds for an aerial view of the canopy and mountainside below.

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FORT CANNING SINGAPORE

One of Singapore iconic landmark. The park was originally known as Bukit Larangan or “Forbidden Hill” in Malay. Today the park is chock full attractions – from ancient artefacts for history buffs to outdoor lawns for concerts and greenery for nature lovers.

Battle Box, a former underground military complex that was used in WWII and the Charming Hotel Fort Canning also lies here.

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Fort Gate, a remnant of a fortress built that was built here in the 19th Century.

HAJI LANE

Fashionista Paradise as they say, this little gem is tucked away from the narrow alleys located in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood of Singapore. This street in the Arab Quarter now stands out as one of the must-do-shopping experiences. Here you can find a collection of vintage items, quirky designs, colorful dresses and even vintage cameras. The lane itself has lots of candy colored shops houses and interesting murals which is great for picture-taking.

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GARDENS BY THE BAY

Singapore largest green, colorful and futuristic park located along the bay area of Singapore. The famous Supertree structures offer an impressive skywalk overt the gardens, over-sized seashell shaped greenhouse,making this destination great fun for both kids and adults,

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CLARKE QUAY

The place is famous for its stunning waterside restaurants and exciting collection of bars and clubs.

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The place is covered by a huge-umbrellas which protect al the restaurants and bars from the rain and it is also air-conditioned.

SENTOSA MERLION

Don’t leave Singapore without visiting the famous Sentosa Merlion. A 37 meter-tall mythical creature. This legendary statue is a half-lion half-fish guardian of prosperity which personifies Singapore’s history as a port city.

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BUDDHA TOOTH RELIC TEMPLE AND MUSEUM

This is one of Singapore’s must-see cultural sites located in the Chinatown district. Admission to the temple and weekly guided tours are free of charge. Visitors are allowed to take photos even during services.

Note: Avoid off-the shoulder Tops, shorts and mini-skirts as dress with respectful attire is required when visiting the temple.

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MARINA BAY

Whether you are looking for a lovely place to walk, malls filled with great shops or delicious cuisines in fine restaurants, Marina Bay has just something for everyone to offer. Most people from all walk of life gather here and enjoy the sunset view while some taking their time strolling along the waterfront promenade while enjoying the beautiful view of all sights and attractions from the water, on board a river taxi.

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ArtSCIENCE MUSEUM (Future World: Where Art Meets Science) 

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HOTEL FORT CANNING

The hotel tucked within 18 hectares of lush greenery of Fort Canning Park.

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LITTLE INDIA

A buzzing ethnic district that shows off the best of Singapore’s Indian community from vibrant culture to incredible shopping.

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Photo not mine

ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN TRIPZILLA.PH

Another articles of mine has been published in the Tripzilla.ph.

Here’s the link https://www.tripzilla.ph/crossing-malaysia-singapore-border/2893

https://www.tripzilla.ph/4-days-hong-kong-itinerary/2751

https://www.tripzilla.ph/instagram-spots-silay-city-negros-occidental/2119

 

VOLLEYBALL – A SPORT THAT CHANGE THE LIFE OF OFWs IN SINGAPORE.

What is an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker)?

A person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This applies to Filipino who are abroad indefinitely as citizen or as permanent residents of a different country and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract as students (Source: Wikipedia).

Most Filipino dream to work overseas.  It is every Filipino dream…to dream of a better life. To give their family a better and comfortable life, to give their children the best education, to build their dream house, to support their siblings education all the way to college, to support their ailing parents and family members. These are just few of the many reasons why many Filipino choose to leave their family and work abroad.

Leaving a family behind is a sacrifice that every Filipino Overseas Workers must face in search of a better opportunities. A bitter pill that no one would swallow if they would be given a choice. Working in a foreign land is very rewarding. They are able to give all the needs of their family back home. However there are also several disadvantages. Some of these are homesickness a feeling of emptiness and longings of being away from their family. Discrimination from foreign employers. Some are lucky to find an employer who treat them with respect and dignity. Some ended to be mistreated by heartless employers.

Living and working abroad is a bittersweet. They face insurmountable challenges with only their faith, courage, hope and determination to carry them through. They even go beyond their call of duty to help their families even to the extend of sacrificing their own needs and even if it means of putting themselves in danger.

Being away from family for a long period of time can turn ones life upside down. It is very depressing. To cope up the loneliness of Filipino overseas worker in Singapore, a group of young and active Filipino volleyball enthusiasts organized an event called SportsatSG.  Their aim is to help their fellow Filipino Overseas Workers mostly domestic helpers to stay productive and healthy. They are actively supporting them to be physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally fit. They prepare them to adapt and keep up a healthy lifestyle to cope up stress and loneliness. Putting them to stay happy and positive all the times.

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Every Sunday the open field and parks in Singapore transformed into a volleyball field. Crowds are cheering and chanting to their favorite team. Some crave for the competition, others enjoy the camaraderie and others are just happy to stay active. They gather together to create a positive experience. 

SportsatSG changes strangers into neighbours, bringing them together in settings where friendships and abilities can grow into a positive environment. They believe that sport and recreation can be a vehicle for positive social change in the life of Overseas Filipino Workers  in Singapore.