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/

 

 

 

EXPERIENCE SILAY CITY CHRISTMAS VILLAGE

Experience Christmas Village in Silay City, its joyful atmosphere with thousands of glittering Christmas lights, colorful lanterns or referred as “parol” in Filipino lingo, creative Christmas decorations and manger displayed all over the plaza that will truly bring you and your family into the perfect Christmas mood. A Nights of Shimmering Lights a great place to meet up with friends, stroll along with family, loved ones and take pictures.

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What is Christmas Village? 

The time of the year wherein the communities start making their Christmas lanterns, holiday decor and “Christmas arko” ( arko is a Silaynon symbol for welcome and the hope of the Silaynons for a more progressive future) being displayed in Silay City Plaza for the Yuletide Season to show their craftsmanship and creativity.

This year the participating communities and barangay who are vying for the awards expected to join the theme “Masanag nga Paskwa sa Pag-asenso sang Dakbanwa” ( A Bright Christmas For A Progressive City). Lanterns, Christmas decor and arko are made of recyclable materials and Mountain Dew plastic bottles.

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Christmas Village has been a long tradition which started  as early as 1840 with the aim to beautify the plaza and bring together the community during the Yuletide season which continually grown over the years.

Exactly 7:30 P.M. on December 11, 2016 the plaza illuminated with twinkling lights followed by the “Employees Christmas Extravaganza” a show that brings together favorite Disney heroes, princess and villains. After the show was the fireworks display shining in the sky. So beautiful to watch!

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I Hope you enjoy my photos of our Christmas Village, and that  every one of you have a very Merry Christmas!

WHY COUPLES NEED TO TRAVEL TOGETHER.

“HOME IS WHENEVER I AM WITH YOU.”

Traveling together expands your horizon, builds a strong and better relationship that is able to build lasting memories that will remain forever in your heart. It keeps the love alive always.

Develop Mutual Respect and Understanding With Each Other. As you travel together you learn to treat your partner with respect, value your partner opinion, learn to consult with your partner before making decisions, able to compromise and negotiate with your partner about important issues.

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Learn To Adjust Without Any Conditions. As you travel together you learn to adjust and compromise with each other without any condition. You see and embrace the core of the other, your partner’s innate personality and worldview. When both partners are aware of their personal boundaries, committed to communicate openly, negotiate willingly, compromise and make adjustments, you can build a strong relationship in which unconditional love develops and grow more satisfying over time.

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Able To Laugh Together. You able to turn complicated things into something funny and learned to laugh at it. Moments of shared laughter are potent for a relationship. It brings a couples closer together. One study found that shared laughter was “positively associated with global evaluation of relationship quality” – in short, couples who spent time laughing together were more likely to enjoy strong positive relationships.

Keeping The Love Alive. As you travel together, you able to express deeply your love to your partner. It is always your honeymoon stage. Walking in the beach hand in hand, while out in public shouting to the world that you’re proud to be with your partner.  Kissing under the gazillion stars in the desert. Couples  who travel together became more romantic.

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Learn To Appreciate and Embrace Life More. Being able to travel together, your horizon widened as your knowledge broadened. It pushes you to come out of your comfort zones which help you to become a better person and embraced life as you learn to value and appreciate each other more than what you have in life.

You Became Best of Friends. My partner is my best travel buddy and my best friend. We share common interests, to travel and explore the world as long as we can. We both like to learn and expand our knowledge by travelling. Travelling with my partner strengthen the bond I have with him that allows me to discover more things about him and appreciate his love and care for me. My safety is his number one priority every time we travel. He is my number one protector and my best friend who will always there for me. img_1789

We will continue to travel and explore the world together as long as we can. Cheers to many more adventures together!!!

THE RUINS OF VOLUBILIS

The Ruins of Volubilis a UNESCO Heritage, became famous abroad when Martin Scorsese made it feature site for his film. The Last Temptation of Christ.

Volubilis is best described as a colony where Roman culture  made central to its inhabitants. Originally, the site was a Carthaginian settlement since the third century B.C.; however, the Roman Empire transformed the city into one of its administrative centers. The Roman transformed Volubilis into a typical city complete with mansions to house the Roman officials, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods. Christianity was the practiced religion and Latin was the spoken language by the Greeks, Jews and Syrians living in Volubilis.

Today, Volubilis is covered in fascinating ruins decorated with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. Volubilis’ ruins argued to be the some of the best preserved north Africa and at first glance, with some imagination, offer the opportunity to see what a traditional Roman city once looked like. Several fragments of walls still remain, along with parts of massive columns and arches; this  thought to be the courthouse. Furthermore, the capitol, the basilica and the triumphal arch are visible.

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CASABLANCA MOROCCO AIPORT EXPERIENCE

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CASABLANCA MOHHAMED V AIRPORT

Our trip did not start well. Our arrival in the Casablanca airport was one we will never forget. My American partner has attended many college football games and public function that involved large numbers of people, but has never experienced the cattle drive that was at the Morocco Immigration. Hundreds of people were pushing and shoving, we expected someone to get hurt. We will tell all to avoid Casablanca airport and better to arrive in country by ferry from Europe.

I never expected that much people in the Immigration. Immigration queue move slowly. There were about 9 windows in the Immigration but only 3 windows were open and people were flocking trying to push one another.  It took us more than an hour before our passports stamped.

I thought we were already done through the waiting process from the Immigration queue but our agony haven’t done yet. We ended up waiting for another one hour to claim our luggage. When the carousel started running and  bags started coming out and I haven’t seen our luggage my heart stopped beating thinking that our luggage might have been lost but luckily after an hour of standing and waiting our luggage were one of the belt.

Going out in the Casablanca airport arrival area was another nightmare for us. The queue was horrible, passengers pushing their carts trying to cut lines to pass you.

Casablanca airport is the worst airport I have ever been.