Southeast Asia, Uncategorized

What to Pack: Thailand

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For the third edition in my ‘what to pack series’ I thought I would do ‘what to pack when travelling to Thailand’. After travelling there a lot I think I’ve got it down. Every time I go to Thailand I have found these items to be particularly helpful. Hopefully they’ll be helpful for you too.

Bag liners/rubbish bags

Bag liners are vital if you’re planning to travel by bus or boat. Actually, even if you aren’t I would still recommend lining your bag. Lining your bag is important because the luggage compartment on buses, trains and boats can be wet. Additionally, there are many other situations when your bag could get wet; you could be walking with it in the rain, often bags are left outside when waiting for pickups and on many occasions I’ve had to get out of boats and walk to shore with my backpack. I always line my backpack and make sure to bring spare liners because they can get worn after awhile. If you want to save money just line your backpack with a big plastic rubbish bag. It does the same job, is easier to find and cheaper.

Casual clothing for warm weather

It is pretty much always hot and humid, so it’s a  good idea to pack accordingly. For me this is usually dresses, shorts, skirts, t-shirts, singlets and anything flowly. I also recommend bringing pants or leggings and something to cover your shoulders if you’re going to visit any temples.

Swim wear

Thailand has so many beautiful beaches and snorkeling spots. Bring at least two pairs of swim wear for swimming and lounging around the pool or beach.

Mask, snorkel and reef shoes

A must for anyone wanting to snorkel. You can often rent snorkeling gear or buy some when you get to Thailand if you prefer.

Flip flops, sandals, walking shoes

Casual flip flops and sandals are a good idea. If you are planning to do some walking you might want to bring some sneakers or athletic sandals.

Towel

It’s a good idea to bring at least one towel. Sometimes your accommodation might not have any and if you plan to go to the beach or pool you’re probably going to need one. If you’re worried about fitting a towel into your luggage you can always bring a travel towel. They take up barely any space.

Toilet paper or tissues

Most public bathrooms are not going to have toilet paper. Best to bring some and keep it on you just in case.

Passport/money bag

You might want to bring a little bag that can be hidden under your clothes and worn the majority of time. It is a good place to carry the bulk of your money and your passport. You can then keep a separate wallet that has a small amount of funds for shopping, buying food etc. This way if you’re pick pocketed or get your things stolen you still have the majority of your money and passport. This is a good idea in general, but particularly important if you’re planning to visit any markets or travel by overnight bus.

Plug adapter

It’s important to do research on what you’re going to need to charge your electronics. You’re probably going to need to bring a voltage adapter and universal plug.

Washing line

This is very handy if you have to wash any clothes by hand or want to dry your towel after a swimming session.

Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses

Protect yourself from the harsh sun by bringing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. These items are important for every day and especially important if you decide to go to the beach or pool.

First aid kit

It’s always better to be prepared. Thailand has lots of pharmacies where you can pick up medical supplies, but it’s best to pack at least some supplies just in case. I’m a pretty accident prone person and over the years have found a first aid kit to be fundamental. I recommend you take pain killers, plasters, bandages, disinfectant, electrolytes, anti-septic cream, insect repellent and your prescription medication.

Warm stuff

This could be a sarong, light blanket or hoodie. These items are particularly helpful on long bus or train journeys because often the air-con will be on full blast. Furthermore, hotel rooms can sometimes get cold so something warm will be great. It’s also important to note that the temperature can be lower in the north of Thailand (especially in the cooler months) so a few warm items might be a good idea.

These are all items that every time I go to Thailand I keep coming back to. I’ve found all of these things to be helpful at one time or another. If I’ve missed anything feel free to leave it in the comments below.

Happy travels 🙂

 

 

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Top 5, Uncategorized

Top 5 Countries I Want to Travel to

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Hello travelers!

Today, I thought I would do my top 5 places I want to travel to. To be honest… I want to want to travel to sooo many countries, therefore it was very hard for me to cut down to just five. These are in no particular order…

 

Italy

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Italy is a place I’ve wanted to go to since I was 13. We studied Roman history and tourism and I’ve been fascinated with Italy ever since. I’d love to go to all of the places I learned about. It would be a dream come true!

 

Morocco

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The culture and atmosphere seems so rich. If I got the chance to go to Morocco I’d eat delicious food, go to the Sahara Desert for the day and visit some of the bazaars. It’d be amazing! One day. One day.

 

South Korea

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I became interested in Korea after becoming a fan of Kpop and K dramas. After researching more about the country I found the history and culture to be so interesting. I’d love to tour Seoul’s palaces, visit the DMZ, go to Jeju island and hang out in all of the unique cafes in Seoul.

 

 

Turkey

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I’d love to go and pay my respects at Gallipoli and then travel around the rest of the country.

 

Nepal

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This place is fascinating! I love how spiritual it is (it’s where Buddhism originates from). I’d love to go to all of the temples and learn about some of the gods. I’d also like to go hiking. Not Mt Everest because I’d die, but a nice day hike somewhere would be good.

 

There you have it…the top 5 countries I’d love to travel to. If you have been to any of these countries please tell me what you thought of them. I’d love to hear. Also, tell me where you’d love to go.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy travels 🙂

 

New Zealand, Uncategorized

Auckland: Vegan Food

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Since going vegan I haven’t traveled to Auckland, so on a recent trip I sampled some goodies. I thought I would share some of the yummy food I ate here just in case any of you vegans are traveling to Auckland.

Revel

143 Karangahape Rd, Auckland

A coffee shop selling vegan and non vegan options. The coffee shop was quirky and quaint. It had a really cool atmosphere.

What I ate: The Reveler’s Vegan Breakfast

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Potato hash, pesto, spinach, mushrooms,crispy tofu, capsicum and pumpkin mash.

Thoughts

It was delicious! I highly recommend trying it. My sister had the vegan pancakes, which I  also tried and thought were delicious. If you’re more of a sweets lover I recommend the vegan pancakes, but if you prefer savoury get the Reveler’s vegan breakfast.

Tart Bakery

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183 Karangahape Rd, Auckland

555 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland

An all vegan bakery selling a range of delicious items.

What I ate: ‘Mince and cheese’ pie and coconut cream doughnut

Thoughts

Both were sooo good! The mince and cheese pie was delicious. The sesame seeds on top was a nice touch and the ‘mince and cheese’ flavour was good. To be honest I wanted another three.

The coconut cream doughnut was also really good! It was pretty close to the original.

 

Giapo

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12 Gore St, Auckland

An ice cream palour with vegan options. The staff were very helpful and pointed out the vegan items.

What I ate: Chocolate chip biscuit coconut cream ice cream. I had this on a deluxe vegan cone.

Thoughts

This might have been my favourite thing I ate in Auckland. Delicious ice cream covered in vegan chocolate and toppings such as a cookie and crispy bits. The ice cream itself was by far the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had and I loved the toppings.

However, I didn’t enjoy the cone. This could have been because I’m not the biggest fan of really dark chocolate and the whole cone was completely dipped in it. Furthermore, I don’t even like cones. I think I just got it for the photo haha. I loved the rest, but if I was to go again I think I would get it in a cup instead.

Overall, I thought the ice cream was amazing and absolutely stunning. I highly recommend this place!

 

So, there you have it…some delicious vegan food I ate in Auckland. If you’ve tried any of these let me know, and if you have any NZ vegan recommendations hit me up. I’m always looking for more vegan food to try.

Happy travels 🙂

Fiji, Uncategorized

Fiji: What to Pack

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Seeing as I enjoyed writing the NZ version of ‘what to pack’ so much I thought I would make this into a series. For the second blog in my ‘what to pack series’ I thought I would write about Fiji. In terms of my background with Fiji, I have traveled all around Viti Levu (the biggest island) including some of the islands off the coast. However, I have yet to travel to Vanua Levu so I cannot speak for items that might be especially helpful if you’re going there. Like I said in my last post, what you take will depend on your own personal needs, but I have found these items particularly helpful.

Clothing for warm weather

Fiji is a tropical country. The average temperature in the warmer months is 26.C, while in the cooler months the average temperature is 23.C. Therefore, it is imperative that you bring clothing for warm weather. The types of clothes you bring will depend on your own personal taste and the activities you plan to do. If you intend to stay at a resort a couple of nice options might be a good idea. I have also found that bringing a sweatshirt is ideal because it can get cooler at night, and it does rain a lot in the warmer months.

Swim wear

Whether you plan to swim, snorkel, go diving or lounge around the pool, swim wear is a must! I recommend that you bring at least two pairs so that you have a spare just in case one is drying.

Shoes

Flip flops for the beach (and everywhere else if you like), sandals and sneakers if you plan to do some walking or anything adventurous. It’s also a good idea to bring reef shoes if you intend to do any snorkeling. Just remember to not step on any of the coral because this could kill an entire coral colony.

Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses

It’s important to protect yourself from the sun so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. If you’re outside for a long period also make sure you’re drinking lots of water.

Snorkel/Mask

I love snorkeling so anytime I have an opportunity to do it I make the most of it. If you have a snorkel and mask I recommend you bring it. Fiji is filled with so many beautiful snorkeling spots. If you don’t have one usually resorts/hotels have snorkels and masks you can borrow.

Insect repellent

I always get really badly bitten so insect repellent is a must have. There are many different forms, such as spray or roll on. It’s best to bring some insect repellent, especially for night time adventures.

Adapter

You may need to bring a voltage adapter, particularly if you’re coming from Canada or the USA. It’s best to do some research on whether you’re devices are going to need a voltage adapter before you go to Fiji.

First aid kit

Last time I was in Fiji myself and a few others I was with got sick. Nothing too serious, but enough to put a damper on our holiday. I highly recommend you bring a stocked first aid kit. Items can be quite expensive if you have to buy it from a store on one of the islands. I recommend you bring plasters, pain killers, disinfectant, bandages, antiseptic cream, electrolytes, ear plugs (for those who get sore ears swimming) and any prescription medication you need to take. I have found all of these to be particularly helpful.

Food

Food is expensive on the islands so you might want to bring some with you. Sure there will be some amazing restaurants, but if you’re looking to save money or like to eat snacks I recommend you bring some food. You can bring some items from your own country (make sure to declare it at the airport) or stock up on the mainland before embarking to one of the islands.

There you have it some of the items I recommend bringing if you’re planning to go to Fiji. I have found all of these helpful at one time or another. If I’ve missed anything feel free to leave it in the comments.

Happy travels 🙂

 

 

 

 

New Zealand, Uncategorized

New Zealand: What to Pack

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When it comes to packing of course the things you’re going to take will depend on your individual needs. However, I think there are certain items that will definitely make it easier. I’ve found that all of these items have helped tremendously when traveling around New Zealand. Feel free to adjust items to your liking and disregard anything that seems unnecessary.

A Variety of Clothing

To say that New Zealand weather is temperamental would be an understatement. Within the span of 15 minutes it can rain, be sunny and then snow. It is said that New Zealand has four seasons in one day and honestly it’s true. Therefore, a range of clothing is a must. This would include a lot of layers that can be built up and taken off when needed. I would recommend bringing mainly casual clothing. New Zealanders tend to be quite casual dressers, but of course bring clothes to your own taste. If you’re going in winter you’re going to need a lot of warm clothing especially if you are planning to go to the South Island. Actually, even if you’re planning to go in summer it’s probably a good idea to bring some warm items. It can still rain a lot and the temperature will drop at night.

Waterproof jacket

Make sure to bring a waterproof jacket. It rains quite a bit in New Zealand and when it’s windy you won’t be able to use an umbrella. I’ve had many an umbrella turn inside out on me. A light waterproof jacket is a good idea because it’s easy to store in your day pack, won’t add too much bulk to your clothing and can easily be taken off if needed. I would say it’s also a necessity if you plan to do some hiking.

Sneakers/hiking boots

Extremely important if you plan to do any of the many beautiful walks. It can be very slippery so I would recommend bringing shoes with good grip.

Socks

Both warm and athletic socks will be sufficient.

Hat, scarf, gloves

If you’re going in winter a hat, scarf and gloves are a must. It can get quite cold. They’re easy to store and add extra warmth if needed.

Swim wear

New Zealand has so many beautiful beaches, lakes and rivers. There are also some amazing natural hot pools. Swim wear is a must.

Water bottle

Either bring one yourself or if you buy a bottle of water just continue to use that after you drink the initial water. It’s not necessary to buy water. New Zealand tap water for the most part is good so you can just fill up your bottle. Even some walking tracks will have a tap where you can fill it. Having a water bottle you can fill up will save you money. Money that can be spent on really delicious New Zealand food.

Cooler

Bringing/buying a cooler might be a good idea. You can store food from the supermarket or meals you have already made. This will save you money because you won’t have to eat out as much. Also, it’ll keep your drinks cold, which is a bonus.

Charger converter

If you are coming from anywhere other than Australia you’re probably going to have to bring a plug adapter. It might also be a good idea to do some research on voltage between your country and New Zealand. The voltage differences will most likely be fine if you come from Europe, the UK or Asia, but if you are coming from the US or Canada you might need to invest in a voltage adapter.

Sunscreen

The sun is very harsh in New Zealand because it’s located under the Ozone hole. This means it’s very easy to get burnt. It’s possible to get sunburned even if you’re only outside for 5 minutes. Make sure to bring sunscreen and consistently use it.

These are all items I’ve found to be helpful. Leave a comment below about anything I may have missed or that you think is necessary when travelling around New Zealand.

Happy Traveling 🙂

 

New Zealand, Uncategorized

New Zealand: Film and Television

If you’re thinking about going to New Zealand, but might not know anything about the culture, film and television is a good place to start. Even if you do know a lot you’ll probably get something out of delving into the film and television industry. Why? You’ll be able to pick up some of the slang, how we use languages, maybe learn to understand our accents, a bit about the culture and even current social issues. There are many benefits. Also,  New Zealand makes some pretty good content. Watching NZ film and television is great even if you don’t intend to learn anything. So here you go here’s some of the best NZ film and TV series to check out (well in my opinion anyway).

Film

Anything by Taika Waititi:

Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi

If you’re looking for humorous films with sad undertones Taika Waititi is for you. His films will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. Furthermore, they are all beautifully shot and have amazing soundtracks. I don’t think you have to watch his films in particular order, just watch whatever takes your fancy.

Boy

Boy

Set on the east coast of New Zealand in the 1980s, the film is about Boy whose life is turned upside down when his estranged father arrives back in town. It’s also about growing up and Michael Jackson. If you’re looking for something that will simultaneously make you laugh and rip your heart out Boy is the film for you.

Watch if…

You’re feeling nostalgic.

 

What we Do in the Shadows

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What we Do in the Shadows is a vampire mockumentary directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. To be honest, it’s one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. It’s about a group of vampires flatting in Wellington trying to navigate the modern world. It’s absolutely hysterical. If you’re looking for a laugh check this out. Also, if you’re a Flight of the Conchords fan you will definitely want to give this a go especially because a couple of the main cast are in it.

Watch if…

You want a laugh.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople might be Waititi’s best work. Beautifully whimsical, sad , with moments that will make you cry laughing; Wilderpeople is classic Waititi. It’s about a boy named Ricky who after a few run ins with the police is sent to live on a remote farm with foster Mum Bella and her grumpy, socially inept husband Hector.

Watch if…

Just watch it you want regret it.

Whale Rider- Niki Caro

Whale Rider

Whale Rider is a beautiful film about Maori culture, feminism and family dynamics. It’s so good that 13 year old Kesha Castle Hughes became the youngest ever Oscar nominee for best actress (someone has surpassed her now but in 2002 when it came out she was).

Watch if…

You want to learn a bit about Maori culture and want to feel inspired.

The Piano- Jane Campion

The Piano

The Piano is a 1993 film starring Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin. Set in the mid 1800s a mute Mother is sent to frontier New Zealand to start a new life. To be honest at times it’s quite disturbing and is definitely a movie that will stay with you long after you have finished watching it. It also one three Oscars so that’s pretty cool.

Watch if…

You want something a little different.

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

It wouldn’t be a New Zealand film list without Peter Jackson. However, because pretty much everyone knows about the Lord of the Rings I thought I would focus on a couple of his other films.

Braindead

Braindead

Braindead (also known as Dead-Alive) is a 1992 horror comedy set in Wellington. It’s about a guy named Lionel who’s Mother gets bitten by a rapid monkey and slowly turns the whole town into zombies. It’s gross, ridiculous and thoroughly entertaining. It’s actually my favourite Peter Jackson movie. You should check it out if you love over the top gore. However, if gore is not your thing you might want to give this a miss.

Watch if…

You love gore sooo over the top it’s funny.

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures is both incredibly beautiful and undeniably creepy. It is also the screen debut of Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet. Based on the Parker/Hulme murder case and set in the early 1950s, the film follows the intense friendship between Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme.

Watch if…

You’re interested in watching some of  Peter Jackson’s other work.

Television Shows

Outrageous Fortune

Outrageous Fortune

Outrageous Fortune is a kiwi classic and in my opinion the best New Zealand drama. It is a comedy crime show about a West Auckland crime family who decide to go ‘straight’ after their Father/husband is sent to prison. It’s really good and Loretta West is one of my favourite characters of all time. This show is definitely not for younger viewers though because there is a lot of profanity, sex and violence.

Watch if…

You want a good drama. It’s good. Really good. Watch it.

The Almighty Johnsons

The Almighty Johnsons

The Almighty Johnsons is a fantasy/drama/comedy set in Auckland New Zealand. It follows a family of reincarnated Norse gods. The fact that they are reincarnated Norse gods stuck in New Zealand of course leads to a lot of drama. It is hilarious and ridiculous and very entertaining. There are also lots of kickass goddesses and Maori gods make an appearance later on in the series. It also has Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit) and Kesha Castle-Hughes. I love the Almighty Johnsons and would highly recommend it.

Watch if…

You’re looking for something funny or you’re into fantasy.

Shortland Street

Shortland Street

I couldn’t not put Shortland Street on the list even though it’s pretty terrible. Shortland Street is New Zealand’s longest running soap opera so of course it has to be on the list. Set in a fictional Auckland suburb, Shortland Street centres on fictitious hospital Shortland Street and all the people who work there. It screens five times a week and pretty much all of New Zealand’s famous actors made their start on it. The acting is pretty terrible and the storylines are ridiculous.  However, in terms of representation and current social issues Shortland Street is ahead of the game. For example, over the years Shortland Street has had gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender characters, Maori, Asian and Pacific Island characters and many religions showcased. Furthermore, Shortland Street always tries to stay on the ball with the current social climate. So yes even though it is pretty terrible in terms of acting, I would say that it is good in terms of representation.

Watch if…

You’re looking to learn New Zealand slang, understand kiwi accents and learn about current social issues. Be warned though it is highly addictive.

Okay so there it is. A list of some of New Zealand’s movies and television shows. To be honest there is actually a lot I missed. I’m sad I couldn’t fit them all in. I might have to do a part two at some point. If you’re looking for something to watch maybe give one of these a whirl. They’re very entertaining and you might even learn something about New Zealand.

Happy Travels 🙂

 

 

Southeast Asia, Uncategorized

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur part 2

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The second day started off with waking up in what felt like Antarctica. Apparently, the air conditioning decided to get stuck on 2 degrees. I’m not complaining though; I think I’d be quite comfortable living with the penguins in the cold.

After a quick breakfast we went out in search of fruit and adventure. Our hotel was located down a side street laden with fruit stalls and other food goodies. I devoured watermelon and mango.

Petaling Market

petaling

Opening Hours: 11am-10.30pm

Location: Jalan Petaling city centre. Very close to the bus station/train station. It is very easy to walk from there.

Information: Petaling is a buzz of activity. It’s everything you want in a market. You can walk up the aisles looking at all the stalls, get something to eat or merely take in the atmosphere. Petaling market is the perfect place to get gifts for loved ones or yourself.

Atmosphere: It’s quite overwhelming. Your senses are attacked by a range of sights and smells. The market is very crowded so I would avoid if you don’t like crowded places.

What you can buy: souvenirs, clothes, chestnuts, bags, nik naks, food, accessories and cheap knockoffs of luxury items.

Food: stalls, fruit, roasted chestnuts. The market is also surrounded by little restaurants and eateries. There is a lot of Chinese food because Petaling is located in China Town.

Tips: try and haggle those prices down. Don’t go too overboard though everything is pretty cheap anyway.

Experience

Luckily our hotel was only a couple of minutes’ walk from Petaling market. After going there it’s safe to say Petaling market is one of my favourite places in KL. Everywhere you look there’s something to see and everything is so cheap.

We wandered around for hours looking at not only all of the stalls, but also the little shops located around the market. I ended up buying presents, clothes, stationary and some fabric. After many hours it was getting sweltering so a much deserved Slurpee from 7/11 was very well received.

We ate noodles from one of the Chinese sit down stalls at the market. Seeing as Petaling is located in China Town you can get some really amazing Chinese food.

Overall, I love Petaling market. I definitely recommend going there if you’re looking for cheap items. It can be very overwhelming and borderline claustrophobic though. Also, if you’re tall like me mind the stall roofs. I knocked my head a couple of times.

After Petaling we were feeling a little worse for wear. We went back to the hotel for a cold shower and to rest in Antarctica for a bit. It was also good to drop off all our shopping and marvel at how we were going to fit everything into our bags. Sigh.

After a much needed rest and a dinner of satay chicken purchased from a street vendor outside of the hotel, it was time to go to the Petronas Towers.

 

Petronas Towers

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Opening Hours: 9am-9pm. Closed Monday

Location: Kula Lumpur city centre

How to get there: taxi, train, bus or Go KL

Information: Fun fact the Petronas Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world. They were even the tallest buildings until 2004.

There are a few things visitors can do. Firstly, you are able to go to the sky bridge viewing deck. The sky bridge is a bridge that links the two towers. It is made of glass and is located about halfway up on the 41st and 42nd floors.

Sky Bridge

Tickets: Ticket purchasing opens at 8.30am. There is a limited number available each day so make sure you go early if you want to go up to the viewing deck.

Price:

Adult: RM85

Child (3-12) : RM35

Senior (65+) : RM45

Suria KLCC Shopping Centre

If shopping is your thing check out Suria KLCC Shopping centre:

Location: Suria KLCC is located at the foot of the Petronas Towers.

Opening Hours: 10am-10pm. Closed Monday.

Information: Suria shopping centre offers 400 stores, luxury goods and less expensive items.

KLCC Park

You can also check out KLCC Park:

Location: KLCC Park surrounds the Petronas towers.

Information: The park is the perfect place to take photos of the towers. At night there’s music playing and a light show. It makes a really magical atmosphere.

Experience

The best way to describe the towers is epic. The towers look like something from Tomorrowland or space. The fact that it was night made them look even better.

First stop was to KLCC Park to take photos of the towers. I managed to get some really good shots. The park itself is also pretty cool. There’s wading pools and fountains. We also saw the fountain light show which was beautiful.

We then went into Suria Shopping Centre. That shopping centre is one of the prettiest malls I’ve ever been in. I didn’t really purchase much because most of the shops sold luxury goods. I did however make my first MAC purchase. I bought MAC’s Rebel lipstick (something I’d wanted for years).

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After shopping we decided to go back to the park to listen to the music blasting throughout the park and watch the light show.

Overall, I had such an amazing time. I highly recommend checking out the Petronas Towers if you’re going to Kuala Lumpur. If you want an even more magical experience go at night. Next time I’m definitely going to try and get tickets to go up to the Sky Bridge as well.

Kuala Lumpur Thoughts

Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite places in Southeast Asia. I love its buzzing atmosphere. The city never really sleeps so there’s always something to do. Furthermore, it’s absolutely beautiful at night. If you’re looking to take stunning photos of a night time city scape KL’s your girl.

It’s safe to say that my favourite thing about Kuala Lumpur is the shopping. In fact, it’s one of my favourite places I’ve ever been to in terms of shopping. I had both my first Sephora and my first MAC experience in KL, so it will always have a special place in my little shopper heart. Whether you’re looking for luxury goods or cheaper items Kuala Lumpur will you have covered.

So yes that concludes my trip to Kuala Lumpur. It was everything I wanted it to be. If you have the chance go and check it out for yourself.

Happy Travels 🙂