Malaysia is home to over 30 million people and is a country filled with diversity in cultures, food, and cityscapes. During my trip to Asia, I made a stop over in Kuala Lumpur, the modern and unique capital city. Upon landing, I noticed the Malaysian flag everywhere - people carrying flags, flags on buildings, flags along the streets. I thought - wow this is a very patriotic place. Then I realized it wasn't just a normal day - it was Merdeka Day, or independence day! What are the chances that I land in Malaysia on this special holiday? Malaysia was celebrating their 60th anniversary of their independence from British rule.
With only 24 hours to spare in the city, I wanted to catch the Merdeka celebrations and hit the city's top highlights: the Batu Caves and Petronas Towers. Check out the behind the scenes video:
1. Merdeka Day
On Merdeka Day, August 31st, we woke up to the sound of military planes flying over the city. A group of fighter jets flew in unison across the unique cityscape.
2. Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are one of the most unique sites, easily accessible by the metro. We took a 30 minute metro ride from KL Sentral directly to the Batu Caves, a sacred Hindu site that features limestone caves and mischievous monkeys. As soon as I exited the metro, it felt like we were in India. Outside the cave is an Indian market, which is a feast for the senses. It smells like incense, there are fresh coconut stands, people making durian crepes, mukukku (an Indian snack), marigold flower necklaces, among many other shops.
The caves are accessible by a large staircase, lined with many mischievous monkeys. There are so many monkeys that we have to dodge them as we climb up to the caves. Finally, we reached the cave entrance - which was dark and filled with Hindu deities. It was magical and mysterious.
3. Petronas Towers
The Petronals towers are the Iconic symbol of Kuala Lumpur and the tallest twin towers in the world. The towers have an impossing, gun metal grey color that dominates the skyline. At one point, they were the tallest buildings in the world, but that title was taken by the Taipei 101, and other buildings. There is an observation deck, but it has extremely limited availablity of about 1000 tickets per day, and it is time slotted. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance. Otherwise, you can enjoy the towers from the outside, which includes a large water fountain and park.
Next, we take the train back to the airport - off to other adventures. Terima Kasih Malaysia!
Welcome to Thailand! On this trip, we take the Phuket Ferry to the Phi Phi Islands, a magical group of islands about two hours off the coast. The beaches include Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh islands, which have turquoise waters, sheer green cliffs, and some of the best snorkeling in the world. It looks like paradise. Here's how to photograph these beautiful islands.
Behind the scenes vlog:
First, we board the ferry around 9am which takes us on a scenic ride to the Phi Phi Islands. We dock off coast of Monkey Beach off of Ko Phi Phi Don to go snorkeling. Our boat provided the snorkel gear and I brought my GoPro. We dive into the underwater adventure and see the best coral reefs and sea life, like parrot fish.
Here's what to bring to get those amazing underwater and aerial shots:
View of the longtail boats from monkey beach:
Time to dive in! View from the waters of Phi Phi Islands:
Next, we go to Monkey Beach where we see mischievous monkeys grabbing tourist's items, like sunglasses, beer, and more! Here is the view from the water looking towards Monkey Beach (shot with GoPro).
We get back on the boat to visit Krabi beach, where we go swimming in the warm waters. Then it's time to head back to Phuket!
Phuket Ferry Schedule:
Phi Phi Island Boat Tour:
What are your favorite places in Thailand to go snorkeling? Comment below!
Welcome to Valle De Guadalupe! This is Mexico's premiere wine region with over 100 wineries and counting. It is known for its low key atmosphere, offering a more authentic wine tasting experience and farm to table restaurants. On this trip, we travel with a guide to get an inside look into this exciting wine region.
We travel two hours from San Diego by car with our tour guide Mario from Baja Winery Tours. After taking the scenic route, we arrive at Santo Tomas, one of the largest wineries in the region. We take a tour of the winery where the winemaker explains the history of the region and the micro-climates that make the various types of wine.
Next, we visit Lomita, a boutique winery where we get a glimpse into the wine making process. Lomita is a smaller, more intimate setting filled with artistic murals made from a Tijuana muralist. During our visit, we got to see the wine-makers in action as they were sorting the grapes onsite.
Now time to eat. Mexico is one of my favorite foodie places in the world because of the exquisite, complex, and creative dishes. We go to Javier Plascencia's farm-to-table restaurant called Finca Altonzano, one of the top restaurants in the region. Javier is a Tijuana native, credited for helping to start the culinary scene here in Baja California. His restaurant has an onsite farm, where the ingredients are picked fresh. It makes for a truly unique and memorable experience.
If you are looking for an exciting alternative to Napa Valley, be sure to check out Valle de Guadalupe!
Finca Altozano Restaurant:
► ► http://fincaltozano.com/
Wine Tasting Tour:
Be sure to book a guide to get the most out of your trip and skip the drive!
► ► http://www.bajawinerytours.com
Purchase the Wine:
► ► http://www.trulyfinewine.com
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