You guys, I'm chuffed to bits. While looking through my archives for Malaysia-related posts I realised that I've blogged about 9 out of Malaysia's 13 states - no mean feat given that I've been living in London for the past ten years! Add to my 7 Things of 2017 a new resolution: to blog about the remaining 4 states by the end of 2018 - only Perlis, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, and Sarawak left to go! Ambitious much? You know the saying: Penang wasn't built in a day. I must say that after Kuala Lumpur, Penang is my favourite state. Founded by the British in 1786, its capital Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Chinese clan mansions jostle alongside larger-than-life street art, where the intoxicating aroma of char kuey teow (the best in the country!) rises up to meet the cacophony of Hokkien and English in every accent imaginable, where the relative liberalism of this Northern island state is a breath of fresh air to this wary KL-ite. I hope I'll convince you, dear reader, should you find yourself in Malaysia or even in neighbouring Thailand/Singapore that you find the time for one of my favourite states and visit these 4 Historical Homes in Penang, Malaysia.
January 16, 2017
You guys, I'm chuffed to bits. While looking through my archives for Malaysia-related posts I realised that I've blogged abou...
10 TRAVEL PLANS AND DREAM DESTINATIONS FOR 2017
Wanderlust wishing, in the spirit of this month's #TRAVELLINKUP
Oh! The places you'll go!
You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
This is my mantra for 2017: the 'I think it, therefore I will have it' celestial vibrations I send out to the Universe in the form of a positive affirmation which I've dubbed a *drumroll* "Seuss-mic shift". Yeaaaah! High five! No? Okay. Divisive puns and questionable methods of achievement aside, 'tis the season to be dreaming big, and how. As far as ambitions go; I'm a simple soul - all I want in life is to hoard as many beautiful sights, sounds, scents, and memories as I can until I swoon from all the sensory overload and implode with bliss. Like hell I'm going to achieve any of that sitting on my arse and eating Doritos while watching killer reruns of Deal or No Deal? so travel it is. Here are 10 TRAVEL DESTINATIONS - some in the works, some as certain as rain on Bank Holiday weekends, and some carried over from previous Wanderlust Wishlists because hey, life gets in the way. Let the daydreaming begin...
◈ 1 ◈
I've been to the Cotswolds once, on a rather elaborate second date. My date had me go to Paddington train station, where the concierge was holding a ticket to Cotswolds for me. Like a scene on a screen, the view from my train window transformed - the landscape changing from the urban jungle of London to the rolling hills of the English countryside and finally, the Cotswolds where my date stood waiting with Jeep and dogs in tow. What followed was a cozy weekend of roaring fires, single malt, and drives down winding country lanes. The Cotswolds will always be in my mind the quintessential charming English village frozen in time. I'm planning to return soon, and this time to get a look in at the gardens of Bourton House and Chastleton House.
◈ 2 ◈
SOUTH AFRICA SAFARI
Astonishingly for one who professes her problems to be of the #TravelBlogger variety, I have never stepped foot on the continent of Africa. Really, I swear, I'm not lion. I do have a wealth of African jokes though, for example: Q: Why aren't there any gamblers in Africa? A: Because there are too many cheetahs. *puts on sunglasses* YEEEAHHHH!!! I've had a lot of near-misses, like the time I was in the South of Spain and my friends wanted to go to Morocco on a whim but we didn't because I couldn't get a tourist visa on time. This is the year I do THREE things that've sat on my bucket list for far too long: 1) Go to Africa 2) Specifically, go to SOUTH AFRICA and 3) Go on safari. All suggestions, and recommendations welcome! 😉
◈ 3 ◈
Even more shocking than my never having been to Africa is that I've never been to Indonesia, despite it being a neighbouring country (I grew up in Malaysia). Or perhaps its precisely for that reason - they say you take for granted what's close to you. Happily, Bali has diversified from its rough n' rowdy reputation and is being increasingly touted as a destination for serenity, natural beauty, and spirituality; which I can definitely get on board with...I'm thinking a lazy weekend in a Balinese villa (with the occasional temple visit) the next time I'm in that side of the world.
◈ 4 ◈
The Maldives is like the Valentino Rockstud of travel destinations - saturating social media feeds as every influencer's must-have-accessory. I've got the shoes, and now I've gotta have the blues - that is, that impossibly clear turquoise sea. Making the Indian ocean my living room, dining room (underwater dining at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, anyone?), and garden - swimming with sharks, diving with dolphins, rolling with rays...look, if wanting to hop on the Maldives bandwagon makes me basic, well then slap my arse and call me Felicia.
◈ 5 ◈
SEE YOU IN SYDNEY
"If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain." What does one do when one's travel buddy moves to the opposite end of the world? Yeah, I'm looking at you Luxy. See you when I get my passport back! Just as well that Sydney is relatively close to my other home, Malaysia, and besides...
◈ 6 ◈
...there are some delicious reasons for me to head to Melbourne too. Of course there's the fact that I have fond memories, having family and friends there, and also a family wedding in April. But those are the least of the delicious reasons - the others being the restaurant scene, the brunch, the coffees, and the company *ahem*
◈ 7 ◈
Santorini has been on my radar ever since my best friend had her honeymoon there. White sand beaches, blue domed-buildings, freshly-caught octopus, spectacular sunsets...
◈ 8 ◈
...and when idyllic bliss proves to be overwhelming, I'll head to Mount Olympus for the mythologies, the stories of heroes, Gods, and their feats and exploits.
◈ 9 ◈
If you don't already know that I've had to miss my family trip to Reykjavik last Christmas and the reason why; then hello, you must be new here. I spent the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016 getting ever so psyched up for Reykjavik - geysers! The Blue Lagoon! The Northern Lights! - only for the crushing realisation that I wouldn't be able to make the trip to dawn on me like the dark cover of an Artic winter. This year, I'm going to get my Canada Goose on over my bikini, stride straight to the geothermal spas, and get resolutely mellow - right after I get use my willpower to summon the aurora borealis.
◈ 10 ◈
COASTAL CHARM IN CINQUE TERRE
Another stunning country, another missed opportunity. Just like Reykjavik, Cinque Terre was a travel plan that fell through. My friends from Malaysia meant to converge on last summer but changed their minds, instead we met up in Barcelona. Lesson learnt: travelling in a large group (think over a dozen) is like herding cats ie. unsuccessful, futile, and likely to end in tears. I'll feel no remorse in going solo to Cinque Terre for her terraced vineyards, pastel-coloured villages - this time it'll be only me and just another lemon tree. Besides, I've already got the fragrance and music for it. Bring on La Dolce Vita.
CINQUE TERRE TOURISM
October 06, 2016
SPEAKEASY, BUT CARRY NO SELFIE STICK - THE REVIVAL OF KUALA LUMPUR'S CHINATOWN THANKS TO 3 NEW HIDDEN WATERING HOLES...
A CAUTIONARY TALE OF AIRBNB BURGLARLY IN BARCELONA,
AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF BECAUSE AIRBNB WON'T