Slightly over a month ago my bestie and I went to Turkey. It was an unexpected #bestiecation to say the least and turned out to be such a great trip. Approaching the end of summer, the weather was ideal as it was sunny with a nice accompanying breeze, about 24 degrees on average.
We went for a 12 day 11 night trip across 7 major cities which was beautifully curated by Personalised Balkan Trip together with Mitti Travel. They ensured a smooth trip for us with no hiccups and made sure we were comfortable throughout. I recommend taking this route across Western Turkey as an introduction to the historically rich and vast nation. The country is so big and every place promises different and refreshing views. One must take their time and return in multiple trips to truly cover what the country has to offer.
There’s so much to say about our recent trip I don’t even know where to start. But here, enjoy some of my favourite shots.
Muhsin Kitap, a bookstore near Istiklal Street, Istanbul
True to what everyone has said, the country is filled with cats. And they’re all well fed and clean. I especially love seeing cats in the shops because nothing makes a place more welcoming than a furry friend with a cute little meow. Also, a bookstore with a cat…can I please work here?
Pergamon, a former ancient Greek city in now modern day Bergama, Izmir
…continued from Part 1.
The official Iranian currency is the Iranian Rial.
However locals and merchants throughout the country still widely cite ‘Toman’ (previous official currency) when transacting. Though they will still tell you the price in Rial if you ask.
RM 1 (One Malaysia Ringgit) = IRR 10,039.52 (10 thousand Rial)
To convert to Toman, simply remove one 0 from the Rial e.g 10,000 rial is 1000 toman.
vice versa, to know what the price is in Rial, simply add a 0.
Alternatively the Euro is also accepted in some touristy places around the country, though I suggest you stick to using their local money for ease of transaction.
Are things cheap in Iran? From my currency to theirs, no it’s not. In fact things are rather expensive.
I am the kind of traveller whose experience of a country tends to be impacted by my visit to the public restrooms (weirdly enough yes). If it’s unpleasant, it would most probably make me reluctant to go, which isn’t good for me in cases of long travels. In such event I’d resort to a proper place like the shopping mall.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in my trip as we had long bus rides and would stop at gas stations and even random rundown R&R areas for toilet breaks. I would always hesitate a bit. But what did I come to find? Public toilets throughout the country are clean. And not that wet. Even though the toilet was provided with a water pipe, it was relatively dry. I was actually impressed. This may seem trivial but elevating the comfort of any tourist in a country is appreciated.
I went to Iran recently together with my parents on an organised 8 day 6 night trip. I had no idea what to expect before going. While there may be many Iranians residing in Malaysia, it doesn’t tell me much about how their home country is like. And while I may have lived in a country such as Saudi Arabia, I was not sure what it would be like to step into another Islamic country. Here’s my take by category.
We went in the second week of November and the weather was perfect. Temperatures ranged between 17 degrees celcius during the day to 5 degrees at night/early morning. It was super pleasant, save for the first day where it rained. Otherwise, it was sunny for the most part. It made for beautiful and bright pictures.
This sounds like a strange topic for a blogpost doesn’t it? But I had this conversation with a friend while travelling and I’m glad I did because it made me realise a few things.
Show consideration. When travelling, moods and feelings get heightened. You get tired, you get hungry, you get restless. Ask your friend how they’re doing. Is the walking too much? Do they want to take a break? Skip this tour maybe? Just chill and get coffee here instead? Eat somewhere else? I’m good if you’re good.
“Did you print out the boarding tickets?
“No, I don’t usually do that.
“Can you print out just in case?
“Okay for you I will…
“Are you hiding something there? Someone maybe?”
“You have a house there is it?”
“What’s so great about Langkawi?”
“Don’t you get bored?”
All very valid questions, but the honest truth is…I just really like the place. *boring*
Over the past few years, I found myself visiting Langkawi frequently. Last year I went there 3 times. Save for the fact that I have already done the tourist visits years back, as I come back each time I don’t exactly do much – I go out, I go cafe hopping, last year I even went ‘hotel day-hopping’ which means I would go and visit what different hotels have to offer without staying there (a pretty win situation if you ask me).
I love being a city girl. Even if I choose to go away for a holiday, I wont ever steer away from the city too long. Like many, I’ve been born and bred in a city and have naturally formed a dependency on city life to feel at ease.
But it gets to me, y’know?
What I love about Malaysia is that a getaway retreat is always within reach. In recent times, there have been more getaway retreats coming up, ideal for weekend retreats or staycation trips.
Sometime in February, Team YCM and I headed to Awan Mulan for a 2d1n team retreat. We wanted somewhere that could accommodate a party of 10+, that was nearby and that allowed for us to both work and play. Awan Mulan being 1 hour and a half away in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan was just perfect.
A sight for sore eyes. This view reminds me a little of the Bosnian valley I visited in 2013.
So I just got back from a short break out of the country and it was much needed. It wasn’t entirely perfect – weather conditions were not too good which limited my activity. But it was good nonetheless because I had days to just do absolutely nothing. And sometimes you just need to do that you know? Go away and do absolutely nothing.
The mind is hardly idle as is the body, so I took the opportunity to reflect about things, one particular realisation which I myself am even surprised to have made.
Here are some unedited photos I took when I visited Borobudur, Yogyakarta, Indonesia a few months back. After hearing suggestions for a sunrise tour during our trip in Jogja, my friends and I decided to commit to waking up 4am in the morning to make our way from the Yogyakarta city to the Borobudur temple (around 1 1/2 hour) and climb up the temple just in time to witness a breathtaking sunrise.
It was so beautiful. So worth waking up early! The best part was the panoramic view of Mount Merapi in the backdrop which I will blog about separately later.
Malaysia is a country with many public holidays and what’s good about 2015’s public holidays is that most are strategically placed near weekends. You know what that means…plentiful extended long weekends!
For the first long extended public holiday weekend, a group of friends and myself decided to have a nature-retreat escape. After reading this article, we decided that we had to tick at least one off the list this year!
We headed to Dusun in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, about an hour away from Kuala Lumpur. We stayed there one night which is more than enough really and maximised the facilities and activities available. We mostly just relaxed and hung out – which is what being at a nature retreat like this is all about. The photos in the website definitely lived up to the quality and thus it was excellent for photo-snapping.