27 April 2016

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur | City Views To Infinity

She's A Fan! - Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Twin Towers are Kuala Lumpur's most famous landmarks in Malaysia, if not the whole of Southeast Asia. When I was planning our visit to Kuala Lumpur I wanted to be right in the city, close to everything that I planned to see without having to break a suit. We checked into Mandrin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur, which not only sits pretty with views of Malaysia's business district with a bonus of being right next to Petronas Towers and the ridiculously HUGE Suria KLCC shopping mall.

The luxury hotel boasts 10 restaurants serving up Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and other international cuisines. Gastronomy to the max! Kuala Lumpur is already a multi-cultural city but I love the hotel is already offering you a piece of the world in all its international flavours without even having to leave the premises. With all the city's tourist sights we had on the cards, first on the list was a bit of R&R on the rooftop's infinity pool. Considering we had just spent a few days temple running through Cambodia's Angkorian Temples, it was time to relax by the pool with a cocktail before exploring began. A few days ago I also shared some pictures from our culinary tour through Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.

26 April 2016

Kuala Lumpur | A Culinary Tour Through Chinatown

Kuala Lumpur | A Culinary Tour Through Chinatown

Exploring a new city is not just about the tourist sites. Food is very much as the heart of cultural explorations. When it comes to Kuala Lumpur, its got it all! Kuala Lumpur is a city that never sleeps and at the heart of it, you have the lively and bustling neighbourhoods of KLCC, Bukit Bintang and Chinatown. Having heard great things about China town it wasn't long before we were hunting down Petaling Street, where Chinatown is based. Day or night this part of town is bustling with food stalls, shops calling out customers for nail and massage services. We were too famished for grooming sessions, so we skipped the nail and hair salons and got right down to business; the food!

Famous for its street food and the beauty of it is that majority of it is cooked right in front of you. It's a paradise if you are a lover of seafood or exotic food in addition to the usual Chinese delicates that includes scorpions and other weird and wonderful creatures. As far as entertainment goes, there are folks that pass through and play music next to the dinners outside, there sellers walking around the tables selling selfie sticks, laser pens, and other nicknacks. It's well-known as a bargain hunter's paradise where you can find everything from souvenirs, clothes, electronics to imitation goods. Make sure you up your haggling game as you will find brands like Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Nike, the list goes on!

Even if you are short on time in the city be sure you make time for Chinatown. The best part is that whatever time or day you come it's always lively.

24 April 2016

Cambodia | Exploring Siem Reap's Bayon Temple [Pt 2]

Cambodia | Exploring Siem Reap's Bayon Temple

Yesterday I shared the first installment of my pictures of Bayon Temple on our first visit to Bayon Temple. Being that it was my favourite temple out of all the ones we had seen I had to go back for a second visit. Sadly on our second visit to Bayon Temple, the weather wasn't the best, but we were lucky in that there was some sort of gathering on the day and a lot of monks out on the day. In an around many of the temples, the monks were out exploring much like the tourists themselves so from what I gathered, a  lot of them were also visiting the city as visitors.

Our visit, this time, was a lot more slow paced this time as we visited slightly later in the afternoon so it was much quieter, although there were still tourists out and about. Below are some of our shots from our to my favourite Temple in Siem Reap; Bayon Temple. 

So,  have you been to Siem Reap? What was your favourite temple?

21 April 2016

Bayon Temple | My Favourite Temple In Siem Reap and Why You will Love It Too

Bayon Temple | My Favourite Temple In Siem Reap and Why You will Love It Too

Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O and on that farm he had a duck...and a quack quack here, and a quack quack there, everywhere a quack quack!!! That rhyme seriously reminds me of Cambodia's Siem Reap,  except instead of having a quack quack everywhere, its temples everywhere! Because there are many temples, almost everywhere you look, there is a likely chance you may experience a little bit of temple fatigue. It's best to take your time and see only a few temple a day and then repeat on the ones that you liked. Out of all the temples that we visited Bayon Temple stood out for me. Out of all the temples we passed by, visited, and explored, Bayon Temple came out a clear favorite for me. 

Bayon Temple is distinctive in that it's richly decorated with a multitude of smiling faces in many of the towers of the Temple. Bayon Temple was a state of Jayavarman VII, a powerful ruler in the 13th century. It's sat on what was a center of Angkor Thom, a walled city that served as the capital of the Khmer Empire. Much like all other  the temples, there are carvings around the temple telling stories of the empire, of life of those in around cities at the various times throughout past centuries. The temple has seen modifications having passed through Hindus and Buddhists. This is evident in the combination of beliefs and representation through mythological, historical scenes around the temple as well the notable marks where carvings were later removed as and when different leaders were in power and depending on their beliefs(whether following Hindu or Buddhist) some motifs were removed.

Out of all the temples, Bayon Temple stands out, it's different from all other temples which seem follow a rather tradition or classical style and perhaps that makes them appear roughly the same. Bayon temple, I guess makes you fall in love with it as it smiles at you from every direction as your explore. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised if you revisited this temple twice more. We managed to visit and walk around twice as well as passing by it several times during our stay in Cambodia.

I will share more pictures from our second visit to Bayon Temple. The tips and ticket details I shared in the Angkor Wat post in that your should bring with you some water, something to cover and protect your from mosquitoes as well as sunscreen or an umbrella, especially during the crazy summer season.

19 April 2016

Cambodia | Where To Stay In Siem Reap

Cambodia | Where To Stay In Siem Reap

Tales of ancient civilisations, unique landscapes, and now UNESCO World Heritage sites. So you have decided on temple running through Cambodia's Siem Reap, but where do you stay in Siem Reap? Siem Reap serves as the gateway to temple ruins of the Khmer Empire.  It's a bustling city and you will want to be right at the heart of it, in terms of accessibility to restaurants, entertainment, and accommodation.  Siem Reap or Cambodia as a country for that matter is one of those places that you can surprisingly find a bed to sleep on for the price of a London Latte. Yes, I was just as surprised as you are right now. Yes, beds in a hostel can be as little as £3.75, which is great for those on a super tight budget. Fear not, for those with supercharged budgets as luxury hotels and villas, are a-plenty!

When I book hotels I can be a little fussy and sometimes I tend to opt for smaller hotels simply because I want a more peaceful stay without hordes taking up spots for the poolside lounge. Having scoured the internet and booking and cancelling places, we finally settled on Kiri Boutique Hotel. We booked this via Booking.com. You can check out deals on hotels, villas, and hostels in Siem Reap. You can also check out other sites like Agoda, Trivago, or Expedia.

Palm fringed villas and gardens, all surrounding inviting pools, with even better service are the makings of a perfect stay. In the land of $5 hour-long massages, you know you will be in for a relaxing stay. The beauty of our stay at Kiri Boutique Hotel was that in addition to the cheap and worth-every-buck massages you could get in the city, the hotel could arrange these in-house and have the masseuse come to our hotel room if all the temple running has got the best of us. Below I have listed a few spots covering most budgets just to get you started on your search if thinking of heading to Cambodia's Siem Reap.