Exploring Kuala Lumpur in less than 24 hours

We jumped off the plane and headed straight for the train. After all, we only had 5 hours left of daylight to enjoy the capital of Malaysia.

  

From the airport we grabbed a fast train to KL central. It took 35 minutes and each. From there we headed to Bukit Bintang on the metro, using our magic coins..

  This was the station closest to V’la Heritage which was home for the night. 75 minutes later we’d arrived. 

Just under the station there’s a coffee shop. We grabbed a bite to eat here as we were starving. Doesn’t travelling make you hungry?! 

As soon as our bags were down at the hotel, we scrubbed ourselves up and headed out to explore.

The city reminds me of home in London. Lots of high office buildings, the city business like buzz. I love it. For the first time since leaving for travelling I actually missed London.

First stop, the Petronas Towers! If your in KL you have to have a picture at the Towers. 

  
Did you know that Catherine Zeta-Jones supposedly walked the line between these two buildings in the film Entrapment?

The towers are futuristically beautiful, and are the tallest twin towers in the world! Islamic influences are evident in the towers 5 tiers, representing the 5 pillars of Islam. 

 We took a walk on the inside, through the unbelievable shopping mall. There was everything from Chanel to Topshop! We just window shopped of course. Tom Ford doesn’t really come under a travellers budget.. 

   

 

Just by the towers is the huge greenery famously known as KLCC Park. There colours are vibrant and the culture is rich. We stopped at one of the restaurants for a refreshment overlooking Lake Symphony; the 10,000 metre man made lakes with fountains that features a daily water show.  

   

 We then explored the park, taking in all the scenic nature. This place would be perfect for a picnic!

  Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to head to the Batu Caves in the end which is a shame. 

In the evening we headed to the lively pub district: Changkat Bukit Bintang. A long strip of bars and restaurants and cheesy music awaited us. This was perfectly situated right behind our hotel.

   

 Kuala Lumpur isn’t the cheapest of places I have to say. I mean traveller wise of course. Tax is added on to ‘goods and services’ here so don’t calculate your bill in your head and expect the receipt to recall the same number. 

While drinks were expensive and tax were added in to each round, there were some good deals though. 

But one drink get 2 free cocktails. We took full advantage of this. Liam bought one overpriced Guinness and I got 2 cocktails free. The 3 drinks for the price of the one Guinness worked out about £5, so was almost acceptable for a round! 

We danced the night away. Well for a few hours or so.. We had a 5am wake up call the next day and headed to the Philippines.

Keep an eye out for our spending breakdown of KL

LwL X

The 5 must see’s of Saigon

AKA Ho Chi Minh city, whatever you prefer to call it.

These are what I believe to be the tourist necessities when visiting the city of Saigon. 

1. Cu Chi Tunnels
To come to Ho Chi Minh and not travel to see the Cu Chi tunnels is almost criminal. 

A system of underground access tunnels and living space at 3, 6 and 10 metres deep, that spans over 250km. The area inhabited 48,000 people over its decades. 

  Equipped with live booby traps, deliberate misdirected pathways to confuse and capture the enemy and hidden termite holes on all levels to allow oxygen to pass through the caves. The place is a well thought out architectural phenomenon.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why this hasn’t been voted as a man made wonder of the world? 
  
There was so much creativity and genius involved in the building and upkeep of the Cu Chi tunnels. It really reflects the intelligence, strong will and pride of the Cu Chi people and the lengths in which they went to to survive and fight for their country. 

A Tour guide takes you around the area to show the different entrances, weapons made and gives you a great history lesson of the war and its affect on Vietnam and Cu Chi. My favourite part was when we had a chance to crouch through the caves. The holes have been expanded by 30% to allow for tourists to pass through and they are still tiny! 
  
The tour only cost around 120,000 VND per person which includes an English speaking tour guide and your transport. Entry fee at the tunnels is 110,000 VND. Well worth the day out for 7 or so pound. 

2. War Remnants Museum

This is not a place for the weak stomached. 

The War Remnants museum documents the decades of war between the Vietnamese and the U.S. from a Vietnamese view point. This is achieved through a series of 8 themed exhibits including ‘aggressive war crimes’ and ‘Historical Truths’.

  
The outside area is filled with various war tanks and fighter planes that were used over the decades. 

Inside, you can expect some facts, figures and showcases of weapons but its mostly filled with graphic war photography. Including my personal favourite ‘Requiem’; a collection of photographs taken by photojournalists who died in Vietnam and Indochina.

  The outside display of the prison conditions are gruesome and barbaric. This was a tough one, even for me. I had so many mixed emotions when visiting here and left in a state of shock. I witnessed a few tears shed by fellow tourists too.

  
It remains open to promote World Peace and saying no to war. Such a lovely message to promote.

To think that the Vietnamese and Americans now have a good relationship is quite remarkable; considering that millions of Vietnamese (10% of the population in fact) are still affected by Agent Orange. It really reflects the loving, forgiving and peaceful nature of the Vietnam people. 

There isn’t really any way you can prepare for this beautiful yet terrifying tourist attraction, but it’s a definite must see. 

3. Notre Dame Cathedral

This 60m high attraction officially known as the ‘Basilica of our Lady of Immaculate Conception’ was built by the French colonists following their conquest of the city.

The attraction was purposefully designed to show the influence that the French civilisation and Christianity had over Saigon and was the most beautiful of its kind when it was built in the 1860s.  

 In front of the Cathedral stands a statue of the Virgin Mary, surrounded be a very well kept and picturesque garden setting (perfect selfie background inserted here).

4. Saigon Post Office

..parked right next to the Cathedral so you can kill two birds with one stone (Not literally. I love birds).

 
5. The Independent Palace

Aww what a beautiful site. The palace is symbolic of the end of the Vietnam War. 

On April 30, 1975, the famous 843 North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through the gates of the palace, which at the time was the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam.

There is a lovely fountain out front and lots of perfectly mowed grass which makes it a great picnic spot. Unfortunately I hit the town early doors and the park didn’t open until 1.20pm, so I only see the view from behind the high security bars. Fear not, just go at the right time and you can take a tour around the palace and it’s grounds. 

What we missed/passed on that may be of interest

We missed another puppet show! I completely forgot that they had them in Saigon as well as Hanoi. 

There is also a lovely big theatre if you have time to catch a performance.

A tour across the Mekong Delta – I’ve heard this is great from fellow travellers but we just didn’t have the time. An alternative to a day trip would be 2 days border crossing to Phnom Penh which includes getting a boat across the river if you’re heading this way. 
Feel free to add your own must sees or opinions on these below! 
LwL x

Chiang Mai: Take 2

 Spending another 2 nights in Chiang Mai meant more exploring for us. I am actually glad we came here a second time as we missed our some vital places I can now share with you.

First of all, the night bazaar (take 2) opened us up to so much more of the road. A tuk tuk took us to the ‘start’ or finish, whatever way you look at it. The place in my last picture with the arch of lights I thought was a closed mall, is actually more shops and stalls. 

Remember this..

 
  Opposite that is another night bazaar that leads to bars, game stalls and another great big food court! 

  
   

 We also finally found where some nightlife is! (The city centre is pretty quiet and dead by midnight). The place to go is Loi Ak road, just before the bazaar. It is a long street of different bars that look like there open until the early hours. Unfortunately we found this on our last night..

  
  Don’t forget to head to Sompet Market in the day for a sweet coconut

   

 Here’s some other snaps of us touring the many temples Chiang Mai has to offer around the city centre: 

Three Kings Monument   
  

   
      
    
  

   
LwL X