Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur!

Hello, N checking in again today. I’d like to tell¬†you all about my trip to Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is a beautiful place with beautiful people and great food. Unlike all the other places i have been to though, in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t alot to do, other than shop and visit some museums and of course the Petronas towers. Although i do advise you to go and check it out! I went for 10 days though i would recommend no more than 1 week. Kuala Lumpur was hot, sticky and it would rain for a few minutes every afternoon. I was within the tourist ground so wherever i went the shops would surround me (lucky me :] ).

The sculpture grounds I visited enable you to create your own clay sculptures which was great fun. The museums were unusual and visually exciting. Visiting and seeing the history and culture of another country is always fun without a doubt! The Petronas towers are beauitful and SOOO TALL! They are skyscrapers 170mtres above the ground.Be sure to wake up early to visit the towers as there is always a long line. Very few people are able to din instead the towers and i was funtate enough to do so. It was remarkable and i must show you the photos ūüôā

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Food wise i would recommend you visit the restaurants within the hotels or preferably in the shopping malls. However, if your a risk taking and like to try anything you see than make sure you visit the little food stalls outside and on the strips of the markets as there are heaps to see!

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Now to the shopping. The markets are HUGE! I visited the markets four times and there was still so much to see! I was directly opposite a shopping mall I also visited the shops alot. Though the markets are like nothing else i have ever experienced. There are so many beautiful and nice people there, altough there are also some individuals who try to … lets say attach you, expecially if your a female (and not in a very nice way). It is very hot, sticky and very very smelly there so be sure to say hydrated and wear a hat, and ensure you goods stay on you 24/7! Check out some of the photos of the shopping mall, unfortunately i don’t have anything to show for the markets as we were to concerned if someone would steal our camera as there is alot of stealing of peoples goods at the markets.

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One thing though that i was disappointed about was there weren’t any local beaches; it would take about 1.5-2hrs to visit the nearest beach (though I never went). But apparently there was also a water theme park; but again i never made it there.

Be sure to visit Kuala Lumpur it is very different, unique and a beautiful place to go to.

So safe travelling and enjoy Malaysia if you do visit

Love always N xx

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Aloha from Hawaii!

Aloha to all my fellow travelers. I am a new blogger checking in today- please call me N. I would love to  take you all aboard the flight to Hawaii. As summer is fast approaching here in Australia, over in Hawaii it is summer and party season all year round. If your the kind of person who loves to party and enjoy the sunshine than keep on reading this blog because Hawaii is the place to be !

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The main reason why i love Hawaii so much is because it is a one stop shop. It has everything i love Рshopping, sun, sand, beaches and great sight seeing adventures. When i visited Hawaii  i stayed on the Big island also known as the main island. I must advise you on the best places to go when in Hawaii must, these include:

РThe Ala Moana shopping mall: there are over 1000 stores and i was still unable to visit them all. Might i add that i went there three consecutive days, because the place is so big. Even for a shopper holic like myself i was still unable to visit each store. The shopping mall and the factory outlets- Waikele Outlets in Hawaii are so great what makes them even better is that they are so reasonably price unlike many places here in Australia. 

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– The Wolfgang’s steak house was AMAZING if you love your meats be sure to visit. The meats are so tender; everything in Hawaii is served in such large proportions (even the ice-cream at Baskin and Robin are huge!). Ordering a salad in Hawaii; you don’t receive a normal proportion sizes are huge no matter what you order.

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РThe cheesecake factory: great if you have a sweet tooth as they have over 30 different kinds of cheesecakes for you to try; though might i add make sure you book early if you ever do want to dine there as they have a huge waiting line 24/7 er one let me just tell you it could feed 5 people.

РI recommend you take a tour bus around the island; my family and i were able to see the whole island in 9 HOURS with pit stops. We visited the Buddha temple which is remarkable coming from a Catholic community and visiting the sacred temples of other religions was really beautiful.

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-Seeing the remarkable beaches where the waves reach over 9 meters high during there peak season (which is usually Jan-Mar), your able to try your surfing skills out

РGetting off the bus to visit the pineapple farms was one of my favorite pit stops; still till today i have the sweet taste in my mouth. May i just say they taste nothing like the pineapples here in Australia. Pineapple ice-cream, lollies, fried pineapple- anything pineapple they had.

– Going to one of the Gridiron games was phenomenal!! I never knew the games went for over 5 hours- reason being unlike NRL footy games here in Australia they don’t stop every time someone is tackled although in America every time someone is put to the ground they reset the game; this process takes up most of the time though as shown in the picture below it is an amazing view; felt as though i was going to fall off a cliff because the seats are so high up.

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– MUST DO snorkeling so beautiful being up close and touching the sea turtles and fish in the Hawaiian oceans was breath taking. Also, if you love the water make sure you do some great water sports as they offer great activities such as stand surfing. You could be out in the ocean as far as 10meters though there are still shallow patches and people still manage to find there way back to shore.

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Over all may i just stay make sure you take a visit to Hawaii you will be amazed by how much they have to offer. Their generosity is beautiful and the view in general is something which will take your breath away.

Until next time Mahalo
N xx

South Africa – Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth!

Addo Elephant park- South Africa

 

 

Hello! R here. Like many Australians, I was not in fact born in the sun burnt country down under. Rather, I was born in the culturally vibrant country of South Africa- in the city of Johannesburg (Jo-burg) to be precise. I moved across with my family to Sydney, Australia when I was 6 years old. Since moving, my family has been back twice – the first time was about 6 years ago, when I was 14/15; and the second was back in April this year (2013).

It’s impossible to describe a country and everything it offers in one blog post, so I’m keeping it simple and focussing on the two cities that mean the most to me:
– Johanessburg
– Port Elizabeth

Safety First: I do not want to put you off with this next tid bit, but it has to be said: be very vigilant with both your personal safety and that of your belongings, both in the car, place your staying and out – lock what can be locked, keep your valuables at home and do not to walk around at night (unless in safe areas for short distances). There are high levels of crime in South Africa, but that should not put you off from visting the amazing place that it is and everything that it offers. It pays to be vigilant, but it shouldn’t destroy your trip. That said, on with the fun stuff!

Transportation:

There is no such thing as public transport in South Africa. That is to say – there are not city buses, and the Taxis mottos are “squeeze as many people into this 12 seater as possible and drive faster than the speed of light ignoring every single road rule possible” and therefore not a very safe or reliable option.

There is the Gaut Train in Jo-Burg, it is my recommendation to simply hire a car. The roads are incredible, and it is quite easy to get from one place to another. As with any major city, avoid high traffic times, but really the rest of the time it is not a problem.

To get from city to city, you can drive easily (the speed limits are more like speed suggestions, just be careful you dont get caught!), or you can fly.

Johanesburg:

International flights land in Jo-Burg, so its a good place to start your trip to settle into the country, look around and get used to the South African way of life. Johanessburg is a big city – so big that the gap between it and the neuighbouring captial city of Pretoria is now a staggering 20 minute drive. They’re practically the same place now!

It is not necessarily the most beautiful city in the world – it has nice houses but they’re all hidden behind three story walls, but it offers a lot in terms of culture.

Weather:
It is interesting to note that the weather in Jo-burg is quite predictable – the seasons follow clear patterns!
Winter: It’s incredibly dry. Not a drop of rain. All the grass goes that beautiful golden-brown colour that we usually associate with the African plains. Temperature wise, it’s pleasant during the day and freezing at night.
Summer: Hot, hot, hot! But here’s the fun part. Every afternoon there is a storm, which will be there for about an hour around 4 o’clockish (give or take) and then it’ll disappear again. At this time of year, the surrounding countryside is beautifully lush and green!

To do:
Situated in the middle of the country, naturally Johannesburg is land locked – no beaches or seas. However what it lacks in beach side frolicking, it makes up for with its enormous shopping centres and malls. If there’s one thing South Africa does really well, it’s their shopping. Coming from Australia, where $1 buys you R10, you are guaranteed a could time! Head over to Sandton, or Eastgate try stores like Truworths or Foschini? Or the cheaper warehouse chain Meltz! There’s even the odd Aussie favourite Cotton On dotted around – its quite funny to see its prices in comparison to what we pay here! For department store shopping at bargain prices, head over to Woolworths – in Australia is a supermarket chain, in South Africa it’s clothes.

Must see: You have GOT to check out their hyper markets. These are literally Coles on steroids! They’re HUGE, and sell everything from food, to fresh baked goods from their in store bakeries, meats from their shop butchers, etc. They also sell pots, pans, utensils, crockery, appliances – including large appliances like fridges and ovens and stoves! But that’s not all! They sell homewares and bedding and linen and beds and cushions and quilts and medicines and clothes. Televisions, iPods, phones and phone contracts, radios, tools, in store florists, and thats only in the one half of the hyper market I managed to walk through!

Port Elizabeth:

About an hour’s flight from Johanessburg you land in this little terminal airport optimistacally named “Port Elizabeth International Airport”, probably named so for when the Soccor World Cup had some events there in 2010. Port Elizabeth is a small little suburban place that is too big to be a town, and a bit too small to be a city. But it’s lovely!

Weather:
The weather in PE is not as predictable as Jo-burg.Dubbed South Africa’s “Windy City”, the weather is cold during winter and warm in the summer, with high winds that caused our plane this April to rock A LOT during landing. As a nervous flyer I was petrified! But the pilots are more than qualified to land in these conditions so have no fear!

To do:

There’s a lot to do in PE. Crime levels aren’t as high as in Jo-burg, so you can go for walks with friends in the park, but be very vigilant.
There are numerous stadiums with shows and games being played, so why not see if you can get tickets?
Once again, shopping! The centres aren’t as big as those in Jo-burg but they offer amazing variety for even more amazing prices!!!

Must See:

The boardwalk – ach I love this place! If could have a destination wedding, this would be where I’d go! The boardwalk runs along with bay, with beautiful views. The Boardwalk offers a lot:

* The Sunday Markets – every sunday a long the boardwalk market stalls are opened, and here you can do all your personal and gift shopping for your trip momentos, for incredible prices! Everything from African wood art, to traditional style paintings, to bags and clothes, to jewellery and more!

* Little tip: Go up to any of the wood or painting vendors and ask them if they sell Zimbawean dollars – the currency of Zimbabwe up until it was dissolved (they now use $US). The numbers are extraodinary! Haggle them on a good price – I got two notes ($200 billion, and $1 trillion) for a grand total of $4! How crazy is that??

* The Casino – Across the road from the boardwalk, is The Boardwalk Casino, an open air shopping compex and Casiono. Even if you’re not interested in gambling, go and have a look – it’s breathtaking! There are little restaurants and vintage stores that can keep you occupied for hours!
* The Hotel – The Boardwalk Hotel – a newly built 6 star hotel connected to the Casino. Remember my imaginary destination wedding? This would be where I’d have it. It’s BEAUTIFUL! Walk in and have a look around. It is so elegant and sophisticated, and aboslutely – to use a South Africanism – “stunning”. If you have stayed there or plan on staying there, I would love to hear what it’s like upstairs!

Addo Elephant Park – about an hour out of PE, Addo Elephant park is a MUST see. For this you will need a car. In the park there are elephants, lions zebras, warthogs, buck and so much more! This is a day trip, and totally worth it!

Head to one of the watering hole around 11.30 to see all the elephant herds gathering to drink. If you get there and they aren’t there, wait a while. We waited half an hour and ate lunch thinking they’d gone already, and then suddenly 12 elephants appeared and started bathing and drinking. It was incredible!

Also – when buying a ticket, DO NOT MENTION IF YOU ARE FOREIGN. They ask if you are South African, just say yes. They’ll charge you triple if you say you arent – this is not urban legend, this is fact.

There are other game reserves in South Africa, such as Kruger National Park which is perhaps the most well known. There’s plenty you can do at them, besides for driving around which is really fun! You can also see if they have an lion cubs, which some parks keep in separate areas for them to grow and to ensure they are healthy. They might even let you go inside for a little play (for a fee of course)!

Of course, there’s lots to do in South Africa, more than I can fit! I hope this has done a little to pique your curiosity!! South Acrica truly is an extraordinary place!

Safe travels!

Rivka X

Hey there, Washington D.C.

Hey lovelies, it’s M here, posting about why you might want to plan a visit to D.C like I did.

D.C. is probably better known as the capital of the United States of America, if you’re a fan of political history, amazing architecture, cold weather and don’t forget the famous Georgetown cupcakes, then D.C. should be on the top of your travel lust list!

D.C was a favourite of mine, because I’m one of those weird people who actually really like the cold weather. Also having an interest of politics, D.C. was really interesting to explore – it’s home to many national monuments, the well-known Smithsonian museums, the Lincoln memorial which featured in that Simpsons episode, and of course the White House!

White House with yours truly.

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The Smithsonian museums are a must see if in D.C., there are a number of museums you can choose from like: African Art Museum, American Indian Museum, the Portrait Gallery, Air and Space Museum and the one I spent most of my time in was the Natural History Museum. The Natural History Museum has some amazing life-like animal replicas and an amazing butterfly room! I would recommend dedicating at least a few hours for optimum museum experience!

Giraffe in Natural History Museum

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Shells at Natural History Museum 

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Crystals at Natural History Museum

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Shot that I took of a butterfly in the butterfly room.

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I hope you all consider Washington as one of your priority jet-setting options! It also has a real multi-cultural sense like Sydney does so there are an amazing selection of restaurants and make sure you hit up¬†Le Pain Quotidien¬†for breakfast – it’s a really cool cafe chain worldwide but with one of it’s more famous cafes and bakeries in Washington D.C. and whilst you are in the states don’t forget to hit up Pinkberry for all you froyo fans – they have Nutella froyo, MMMMMMM!

Love, M. X