How to spend 24 hours in Malacca, Malaysia


One of the first cities we visited during our Malaysia trip was Malacca. We only decided to stay overnight the day before and I'm so glad that we did. As soon as we drove into Malacca, I realised it was exactly how I had imagined Malaysia to look in my head. All around the city you'll see influences from the Dutch, British and Portuguese left behind after it was colonised.  I loved the hustle and the bustle of the city, it had a real backpacker feel. It turned out to be one of my favourite places we visited and I wish we had stayed for longer.


9am - Breakfast
Navy Cafe

First things first, you need to get some breakfast in you! Tucked just behind the famous Jonker Street, Navy Cafe is a little cafe that wouldn't look out of place on Instagram. It's not your average breakfast food but it does have a lot of western specialities. When I'm away I like to have western-inspired breakfasts and local lunches and dinners. I opted for a fried chicken cutlet sandwich filled with egg, lettuce, cabbage and a spicy sambal. Just the ticket to set me up for a day of sightseeing.






10.30am - Christ Church and the Studthuys

You definitely won't miss these Dutch buildings thanks to the vibrant red hue. The Christ Church was built by the Dutch when they took control of the city from the Portuguese - sadly it was shut so we couldn't go inside. You'll see endless tacky, loud decorated rickshaws surrounding the church offering tours of the city. We didn't take one but they seemed to be very popular! Next door you'll find the red building of Studthuys, built between 1641 and 1660 on the ruins of a Portuguese fort.


11am - St Paul's Church

Now the church really isn't too much to look at but it's worth climbing up all those stairs to it for the views. You can see for miles over both the new and the old city. Be sure to take a bottle of water as the stairs seem to go on forever!



11.30am - Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Dating back to 1646, Cheng Soon Teng Temple is the oldest traditional Chinese temple in Malaysia. It is so beautifully ornate and we were kindly given a peek into the history thanks to a kind random man who took pity on our inquisitive eyes! Try and go on a day where offerings are being offered to Guanyin, the goddess of Mercy as it create such a wonderful atmosphere. Always remember to be respectful though.

12pm- Go for a wander along Jonker Street

Jonker Street is the most famous in Malacca. It's absolute mayhem and so busy but worth a wander down, pop in and out of the shops to find some souvenirs to take home. During the weekends they have a night food market which we sadly didn't get to catch. I've heard it's fantastic!



12.30pm - Go for a drink along the river

Head to the river and you'll find an abundance of bars to enjoy a drink. Escape the lunch time heat and stop for a drink. They're pretty much of the same so just randomly pick one like we did!



1.30pm - Go for lunch
Geographer Cafe

Located in the heart of Chinatown. be sure to get a table outside or near the open windows to people watch. It wasn't the best meal we had but it was tasty and hit the spot. The restaurant offers a mixture of both western and Malaysian inspired food so it's a great place to go if you're craving something a little more familiar. We all get like that travelling! I opted for a vegetarian curry with tofu. It had a good kick to it and the portion was pretty filling. What more could you want for around £4?!


3.30pm - Check into your guest house
Layang Layang Guesthouse

This isn't anything special - we didn't have a window in our room and we had to share a bathroom. BUT it is right in the centre of town, clean and only cost us £10 for a private double room. For one night we really couldn't complain. Keep in mind due to the location is can be very noisy so bring earplugs.





4.30pm - Simply wander around!

One of the best ways to soak up a city in my opinion is to soak up the city - without the help of Google maps! Malacca is full of little winding streets that are prefect to get lost in. Dip in and out of shops or cafes, you never know what you might stumble across.

8pm - Go for dinner
Wild Coriander

One thing we noticed in Malaysia was that people ate early, you really had to be sat down by 8/8.30 as places closed at 10pm.  Located in a colonial shop house, we ended up in Wild Coriander because they had a later opening time and was really pleased by the quality of the food. I ordered beef Rendang which was absolutely delicious. So tender and flavoursome, the best one I had my whole trip. Service was attentive and the prices were pretty reasonable. Sadly the lighting was terrible so I don't have any pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it!




10pm - Find the secret bar
The Old Merchant

We stumbled across this completely by accident as it was located two doors away from where we had dinner. The door looked suspicious and when we pushed it, it revealed a secret cocktail bar with a killer menu. It's not cheap but the cocktails are tasty. It's still cheaper than what you would pay in London. Bars are a weird thing in Malaysia as they're very reserved. Everyone is dressed up to the nines yet no one is dancing, despite there being a DJ. We started - well my friend - our own dance floor and was joined by an Aussie who said she was dying to get up and dance!
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George Town, Penang: How to get there, where to stay, what to do and where to eat


George Town was one of my favourite stops on our Malaysian trip and I wish I had stayed for longer. We opted for two nights but I really think that three nights would be best. It's such a fantastic place to spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere and dipping in and out of the brilliant cafe culture.

How to get there
You can't fly direct to George Town from the U.K so you'll have to fly into Kuala Lumpur first. You can either then catch another internal flight or you can choose to use the train like we did. I really enjoy getting trains in foreign countries plus it helps to reduce your carbon footprint. We ordered our tickets online in the U.K via KTM Train and printed them off before we left. Book a train from KL Central to arrive at Butterworth in Penang. It will take 4.5 hours but the trains are air-conditioned with decent toilets. The journey flies by but make sure you bring some snacks and water with you. You will be harassed by taxis as you step out of the train station but keep following the signs to the ferry terminal. Here you can get a ferry - for the equivalent of 20p! - over to George Town. It's a quick 15 minute journey.

Where to stay








Our first choice of accommodation was fully booked and boy am I glad. Betel Nut Lodge was the best place we stayed our entire trip. I don't think I have ever experienced service like it, it was impeccable. We paid around £50 a night which included breakfast and a four poster bed! Check in was seamless and we were very kindly brought up a pot of tea and a couple of sweet treats to help us settle in. The room was spotless and the bed provided a very good nights sleep - so comfortable! When we arrived we were given three maps to help us navigate around the city. One had a list of all the Penang specialities, one had a map of all the street art and the other had handwritten notes in with personal recommendations. We based our trip around the latter map and I honestly believe that is why we had such a fantastic time. It's a brilliant location in the UNESCO centre and everything was within walking distance.

What to do





Blue Mansion
One of the most iconic buildings in George Town is the 'Blue Mansion' and they offer English-speaking tours twice a day - once at 11am and again at 2.30pm. It's now a hotel so you can't just turn up and wander around, you must be booked on to a tour. For just under £4, you'll be taken on a tour by a very enthusiastic guide full of knowledge about the building. It certainly has a colourful history!





Street art walking tour
George Town is famous for its cool street art dotted around. The best way to explore this is to arm yourself with a map, a camera and keep popping in and out of the many cafes when the heat gets too much. It was my favourite things to do. Pop out early in the morning unless you are prepared to queue to take a photo. Tour buses come into the city for street art tours so it can get very busy!




Chew Jetty
The Chew Jetty is is largest and most intact of the clan jetties in George Town. It's a nice place to have a wander. The evaluated wooden walkways are full of souvenir shops and food stalls with a temple, people's houses and community hall.






Khoo Kongsi
This Chinese Clanhouse was probably one of the most beautiful buildings I've seen. It was so stunningly designed - no wonder it is the grandest clan house in the whole of Malaysia. Clan Houses were built by the Chinese as meeting centres, they became a place for immigrants to go when they first stepped foot in Malaysia so they should gain a sense of community in a place so far away from home. The British has no idea what used to go on in them and used to call them secret societies. As the years went on the clan houses became more and more impressive as the different clans tried to out do each other to show off their wealth.

Where to eat

Street food
The best places to eat in George Town are the hawker stalls dotted around. It takes a while to get used to eating at the side of the road with cars whizzing past. Here you'll find meals for a £1 or less so they're great if you're sticking to a budget.



The Jetty Food Court
I'd really recommend this place if you're not in town for long and really wanted a hawker stall experience. It's located opposite Chew Jetty and only open in the evening. You find a seat - sharing is more than acceptable so ask to perch on someones table if they have room. Someone will come over and take your drinks order. Make a note of your table number and wander around the stalls to decide what you want. Tell them your table number when you order and they will bring it over when it;'s ready. You pay them when they bring it over, they always have change so there's no need to have the exact money.


China House
Consisting of three buildings all knocked through, China House is the perfect place to stop for a slice of cake and drink to refuel. It's not cheap but the slices of cake are huge and very delicious. It's very hipster and a really cool place to people watch. It also consists of shops, a theatre, library, restaurant and bar. It does get very busy so be prepared to queue.
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5 street foods you need to try in George Town, Penang


1. Char Kway Teow
When we checked into our guesthouse they told us we absolutely had to try this dish, even if we didn't try any other street food specialities. So who were we to argue? Char Kway Teow is a stir-fried flat noodle dish in a dark and light soy sauce with either chicken, prawn and egg. You can opt for all three or go without which ever one you don't fancy. It is absolutely delicious and one of my favourite dishes we tried. We had the dish at Kafe Ping Hooi - look for the stall where the owners wear an orange t-shirt. It is only open until 1pm so pop along for an early lunch so you don't miss out. It cost us around a £1 for this dish but you can get it cheaper if you have it without the meat.


2. Wan Tan Mee
This was the first dish we tried in George Town after yet another recommendation from our tour guide. This Cantonese noodle dish is a hot broth filled with prawn dumplings and topped with roast pork and some sort of greens. I couldn't tell you what it was! You can also opt for it dry which means it comes with a soy sauce rather than a broth. We had a great experience eating this as we shared a table with four locals who talked to us about the area and gave us a little insight into the history. We opted for a large bowl to share but I'd recommend you get the smaller size so you can try lots more food. It's pretty filling! We ate at Mother and Son Wan Tan Mee where a large bowl cost us just over a £1.


3. Penang Assam Laksa
I discovered that Laksa is one of my favourite noodle broth so was keen to try the special Penang version. This spicy dish reminded us of mint sauce! Made using tamarind and using a fish base, it has an unusual tangy taste and it certainly an acquired taste. It is a great one for those who don't enjoy too much spice as it was pretty mild. We tried it at The Jetty Food Court.


4. Popiah
Our friends had raved about this but we struggled to track it down until we got to George Town. Hawker stalls always sell out of stuff so sometimes you don't get what you want. Popiah is non-fried fresh spring roll filled to the brim with vegetables such as carrot, bean sprouts and lettuce. We found our stall at The Jetty Food Court near the Chew Jetties. We picked it by random but it was a fantastic choice. They have so many different stalls so there is something for everything. I think we paid less than a £1 for the Popiah - maybe about 80p!


5. Hokkien Mee
This was another dish that our guesthouse recommended for us. Boasting two different types of noodles (rice and egg), this dish with a bit of a kick originates in Penang. Prawn is the main ingredient but you'll also find a hard boiled egg, pork slices and bean sprouts. The hawker will give you some sambal on a spoon which you can mix in. We tried it in a little place opposite the Chew Jetties. You'll know the one as this is the only thing that it sells. It has a few tables inside. There's a stall next door that does some cracking Chinese sausage and spring roll which you can see to the right.

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A Christmas treat with Jet2 Holidays


A email popped into my inbox a week or so ago asking if I fancied a hamper from Jet2 to help celebrate the festive season. Well after a long week at work, it was such a treat to come home too! Using the theme of European Christmas markets, it was full of goodies to help get me in the mood. I can't wait to make that Yule log in time for Christmas Day and have already used those gorgeous milled wine mugs! Those chocolate coins went down faster than you can say Merry Christmas...




Coincidentally when I went to Magaluf back in May I actually used Jet2 Holidays and can't rave about them enough. We ended up delayed because of an awful storm but were kept well informed and given frequent cups of water to keep us hydrated. It doesn't sound too much but it's a lifesaver when you're stuck on the tarmac inside a stuffy plane. Inside the hamper was also a £60 voucher to go towards a trip. I'm hoping to take advantage of their Jet2 holiday city breaks if our funds allow us next year!

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Travel plans for 2019

I vowed that 2019 would be the year I slowed down as I was starting to get travel burnout but alas I turn 30 next year and have got slightly carried away with the celebrations. We have a lot happening in the first six months, a little two much if I'm honest! We were a bit too trigger happy with booking flights and have certainly learnt from our mistakes. We won't be booking two long haul trips again in one year! But nevertheless, 2019 is set to be a year to remember and I honestly can't wait.


Malaysia
Our friends moved to Malaysia around 18 months ago to teach and we promised we'd go visit them. They will have been out there for two years next August and we're worried we would miss our chance if we left it any longer. So we did what any sane person would do... Book flights on a whim! We head out there the day after my 30th birthday party (slight error there I think) in time to celebrate Chinese New Year with them. We have a week exploring Kuala Lumper, Ipoh, Melacca and Cameron Highlands with them before leaving them and heading up north just the two of us to visit Penang and Langkawi. I never had that Gap Yah so this will be first time to South-East Asia, a region that I declared to my parents I would be visiting aged 17. 13 years I'll finally be making that come true. Good things come to those who wait eh?

Las Vegas
Way back when we were tiny pups of 21, we made a pact to go to Las Vegas for our 30th birthday year. We saw it as one big last blow out as friends before the responsibility of houses, marriage and babies caught up with us all. Now that time is upon us, I don't really think any of us will be thinking about the responsibilities for a long time yet, especially the marriage and babies. But we still have a pact to keep! There are six of us heading to Vegas and we've got so much planned. I'll finally be ticking off what feels like a lifelong dream of visiting the Grand Canyon. Let's gloss over the fact the motel we've booked for an overnight stay looks like it should be in a horror film...

Derry
We're hoping to head back over to Derry over one of the May Bank Holidays to spend a few days with family. We'll probably just book one weekend that has pretty cheap flights - sadly we can't do any midweek breaks as our holiday allowance is a bit tight!

The Cotswolds
The first wedding of 2019 is one of my old school friends who I have know since I was nipper. 26 years of friendship - mad eh? She's getting married in an absolutely beautiful venue in the heart of the Cotswolds in June. We're hoping to rent an Airbnb in Cheltenham which is around a 20 minute drive from the venue. We'll be driving down after work on a Friday and spending the weekend there so hopefully won't be too hungover to do a bit of exploring.

Dublin
My boyfriend turns 30 in July and he's always mentioned Dublin as somewhere on his list of places he'd love to go. It's unusual as he doesn't really have too many things on his bucket list. I wanted to surprise him but then I got overexcited with my great idea so I spilled the beans. So it's no longer a surprise. We've spent a lot of time in Ireland over the past 12 years but never quite made it to Dublin. It's be nice to finally tick it off the list!

Rhodes
Finally my last trip of the year will be Rhodes for a work colleague's wedding. I haven't been to Greece since I was about 11 so am very much looking forward to going back as an adult. Give me all the Greek salad and baked feta please! Rhodes is an island I haven't been too and I've heard great things about it.
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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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