Exploring Asia: Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Address: Concourse Level, Lower Ground, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088
Opening times: 9am-9pm Tuesday - Sunday
Admission price: Around £15

During our Malaysian adventure in February we only had a flying visit to Kuala Lumpur as we had so much more to fit in. Our friend lives in a KL suburb so very kindly drove us into the city so we could tick the Petronas Towers off our list. We booked tickets before we left online as you got a slight discount - I'd really recommend this. Tickets can sell out really quickly on the day and are sold on a first come, first serve basis.

Whenever I visit a new city, climbing to the top of one of the biggest viewpoints is always top of my list of things to do. There's just something about seeing an incredible view. The Petronas Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world and tallest buildings until 2004, when the Taipai 101 took over in Taiwan.

When you first get the lift up to the towers, your first stop will be to the Sky Bridge connecting the two towers together. This was too cool! You get around 10-15 minutes to hang our here, take some pictures and appreciate the view. I really liked the fact they send you up in small groups so there are never too many people.

Next up is the main event to the second observation deck on the 86th floor. This is the highest you can go. What a view you'll be treated too! I'd really recommend grabbing one of the many seat scattered around the edge and sitting down for a few minutes, it helps you to really soak up the 360 degree view. There are various interactive games to play and lots of information about the towers to read up on.

Definitely don't miss out on the towers if you find yourself in the city!


Why the Grand Canyon is the most beautiful thing I've seen

When we started planning a trip to Las Vegas, I really pushed for an overnight stay at the Grand Canyon. The helicopter seemed super glamorous but I'd read on forums that it landed in an Native American reservation within the national park as the Grand Canyon was sacred ground. I wanted to experience the national park. The West Rim of the Grand Canyon was home to the famous Skywalk but being the travel snob I am I wanted to go to a part that not many people travelling from Vegas make it too. I'd kept reading about the South Rim so I made the executive decision that this was the section I NEEDED to visit. But the only problem was it was a five and a half hour drive from Last Vegas. Luckily my wonderful boyfriend took the load and agreed to be the designated driver.

We picked up our hire car at 7am, after a hairy moment of being stuck in the lift, swung by the very underwhelming Las Vegas sign and began our drive into Arizona. It was pouring with rain when we finally arrived much to our disappointment after a long journey. After checking in at Yavapai Lodge - which I thoroughly recommend as there's nothing better than being based in the park, we decided to brave the torrential rain and go seek out the canyon anyway.

Dripping wet and still in summer clothes, we parked up our car and wandered over to one of the viewpoints. I'd seen numerous amounts of pictures of the Grand Canyon over the years and it's been on my bucket list for what feels like forever. But nothing in the world could prepare me for the view. Even in the rain, it was absolutely stunning. Every single one of us just stared in awe at the sight before us. It was the most incredible sight I had seen. Pictures really don't do it justice at all. In fact looking back at the pictures disappoint me because they just don't convey it's beauty. The sheer size of it is so overwhelming, I don't think I have ever seen anything so big. We didn't stay too long in the rain, instead heading back to the lodge for pizza and an early night in the hope we would have the weather on our side the following day.

We woke up bright and early at 4.45am keen to catch the sun rise over the canyon, after a few minutes drive to Yavapai Point we took our place among the crowds. Despite the disappointment of it being cloudy it really was amazing to see the sun slowly rise. It didn't quite feel real. Once the sun had fully risen, we took a slow wander and the canyon was glowing orange in all its glory. After about an hour staring aimlessly out at the wonder before us we decided to jump back into the car to drive to a few other viewpoints before we heading off back to Vegas. There is actually a shuttle bus which ferries tourists around which I would totally have used if we had longer, the routes sounded fab when I was reading about them.

The great thing about being based inside the National Park was that you could beat the crowds if you had an early start. We drove to quite a few different viewpoints and had them mostly to ourselves. It makes you feel quite insignificant surrounded by such incredible nature. I remember just sitting in awe on a rock staring at something millions of years old. Now I'm home, I've realised it's honestly the best thing I've ever done in my life.

One thing I did notice though was litter - just keep your rubbish to yourself guys! Don't spoil it by throwing away plastic.


Langkawi, Malaysia: How to get there, where to stay, what to do and where to eat

I have mixed opinions about Langkawi, we spent the most amount of time there which was a mistake but looking back it was really nice to take such a chilled pace of life after a hectic 10 days. I've described Langkawi as the Benidorm of Malaysia. In the main strip, it's pretty Westernised and feels like you could be anywhere in the world. It really doesn't feel like Malaysia. But once you hire a car and start exploring, the island becomes so much more. If you're after a few days relaxing and enjoying the beach then Langkawi is for you. Just don't expect too much to do!

How to get there
There are currently no direct flights available from the U.K but you'll be able to catch fairly cheap internal flights. We flew back to Kuala Lumpur to go home for around £30 on Asia Air. We were traveling over from George Town, Penang. Instead of flying we decided to catch the ferry. If you head down to the ferry terminal, you'll find lots of shops offering a ferry service. We just picked a random one and it worked out fine. Remember to take your passport as you'll need that to purchase tickets. We tried to book online but there is a problem with the website accepting U.K debit/credit cards. Ferries run twice a day, once in the morning at 8.30am and once in the afternoon at 2pm. It will take around three hours. It's not a picturesque ride and is a bit of a tight squeeze but its painless and a pretty cheap way to travel! Tickets cost around £11 for a single and £22 for a return.

Where to stay
Address: Lot 1947, A Jalan Pantai Cenang, Kampung Gelam, Langkawi, 07000
Cost per night: Around £82 based on two people sharing with breakfast included

We decided to splash out and stay at Kunang Kunang Heritage Villas as we were coming to the end of our trip in Malaysia. Although a little out in the sticks, the accommodation was absolutely perfect for a few days of pure relaxation. They had a gorgeous pool which was just the ticket for curling up with a book and putting thoughts of home out of your head. Just be prepared to hire a car as nothing is within walking distance - taxis can work out expensive if you keep booking them.

What to do

Cable car
Langkawi is home to the steepest cable car in the world and its certainly a hair-raising experience! It takes visitors up 708 metres above sea level and offers the most incredible 360 degree views over the island. You'll see jungle and rocks over 550 million years old. There are three stations: base, middle and top. It costs around £8 each and includes a stop off at each station.

Sky bridge
At the top station of the cable car is where you'll find the Sky Bridge. It really does feel like you're up high in the clouds, if you're feeling brave enough make sure to check out the clear glass boxes dotted along the bridge. It will make your legs all wobbly looking at the drop below! You can buy a combination ticket with the cable car for around £16-17.

Hire a car
Public transport is non-existent on Langkawi. The country has its own version of Uber called Grab which is very reasonable but sometimes it's nice to have your own freedom by hiring a car. Our hotel helped us to hire one, we enquired about it one morning and it was in the carpark the next day - it couldn't have been simpler. Langkawi is full off gorgeous beaches and hiring a car is the best way to see them all.

Rainforest trek
Langkawi is full of lush rainforest and we wanted to get up close and personal with it. I was drawn to Dev's Adventure Tours because they're an ethical company who were keen to help preserve the rainforest. We chose to do their jungle evening walk. We were picked up on time from our hotel before being driven to a hotel deep in the jungle. We were lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, there wasn't anything she didn't know about Langkawi. After walking through the hotel grounds and spotting ALL the monkeys, we went into the rainforest and managed  to spot some flying mammals as the sun went down.

Where to eat
Food isn't the best in Langkawi, it was a bit of a disappointment after having a such amazing food in the rest of Malaysia. We did have a few delicious meals but they were few and far between. It says a lot when our favourite restaurant was a Syrian one!

Arang BBQ and Grill
I'd never had Syrian food before and didn't think the first time I would try it it would be on a Malaysian island! Located at the southern end of Pantai Cenang, it's a great place to people watch as you can sit outside. We started with a selected of hummus dishes with some flatbread before diving into our mains. I opted for the falafel wrap drizzled with delicious tahini sauce and paired with a side salad. It was so good with the falafel cooked to perfection. My boyfriend went for the Syrian Kebabs which he raved about too.

This wasn't the best Malaysian food we had in Malaysia but it was the best we had in Langkawi. I'd really recommend the curries which were delicious and had just the right amount of heat. Make sure to grab a seat outside and watch the world go by.

Restoran Hafizi Ramli
We randomly stumbled across this place on our first night and discovered they did a cracking Roti Canai. It's a very laid-back place, quite similar to a food court you'll get on the mainland. Just try to catch the eye of someone and they will come over and ask you what you want. Don't forget to ask for the chicken satay as it is delicious!

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