Archives for posts with tag: experience

Here is a short review of my experience of flying with Air Asia X.

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Positives

Price. Being a low cost airline price is essentially the most important aspect of the service and Air Asia certainly delivered. A 7 hour flight cost me $180 and I was thrilled with that.

Service. Service has been great everytime I’ve flown with them, very friendly staff. Additionally, Air Asia flights always seems to be on time if not early in departing and arriving an airport.

Option town. Option town is a site you can visit before your flight and its here you can elect to pay a bit extra for a seat upgrade, extra leg room, inflight entertainment and food on your flight. Personally I really like paying for the extras instead of a full service meal because this way I can choose my own meals and I’m getting what I pay for and not things that I don’t want.

Negatives

Seats. Being a low cost airline the seat are a little smaller and you don’t get a lot of leg room. But hey, you get what you pay for right?

Extras. If you want to watch a movie on board you’ll need to bring your own device as Air Asia X don’t fit their planes with in flight entertainment. Or you can pay the airline to borrow an iPad on board which isn’t expensive.

Food. No meals are provided, if you want to eat on your flight you’ll need to book and pay for a meal when making your booking- the meals aren’t extravagant or anything and cost from memory about $7.

Recommendation
I would definitely recommend Air Asia X to anyone but specifically to those hoping to travel on a budget. Its a great airline doing an amazing job of making travel more affordable.

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My sister and I visited the Taj Mahal in February this year and as you can see we had a great time. It is a beautiful place as anyone who has be there will tell you. One awesome part of the Taj is the symmetry in all the buildings and walkways, if you have a slight case of OCD you will love the order and planning that so evidently went into building the Taj. Unluckily for us, the morning we were there it was quite overcast so we couldn’t get the best photos. It is still spectacular in gloomy weather I am happy to report.

Travelling through India is definitely a challenge, visiting the Taj Mahal is a great reward!

 

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If anyone has been to or planning on going to the Taj Mahal please share your stories and thoughts ūüôā

India, India, India… I tried so hard to like India, a country with so much history and delicious food. But I have to say, India is just not worth the hassle.

I went to India to see the Taj Mahal and that was great. I met a few nice people and had yummy curry. Those were the good parts of India and together they only took a few hours. The rest of my trip consisted of walking along dirty streets, standing in train stations with rats scurrying all over the place, being swarmed by beggars, getting overcharged by 400% and having everyone try to sell me their rubbish stuff.

I understand they are poor and they need to make a living but I was there for a holiday and not to be badgered 24/7.

More than just trying to rip you off when selling you things, people in India also run scams on tourists. There is one scam I heard about that I have always remembered because it so ludicrous and gross. This scam needs two accomplices, basically you are just walking along the street and one of the scammers will throw crap on your shoes. I know, what kind of country is this? That scammer will then run off and his accomplice (you don’t know they are in on it together) will come up to you and clean your shoes for you. Once he’s finished cleaning he will then ask for money for cleaning your shoes. That’s right. They throw crap on you and charge you for it.

I heard of that scam whilst staying in New Delhi, safe to say when I went outside the next day I wore dodgy shoes and stared down every person who walked past me looking for any sign they were about to throw something at me.

Getting to the airport in New Delhi and knowing I would be leaving, going somewhere clean, was a huge relief for me.

I’m not saying there aren’t good parts of India because there are places worth seeing. just if you’re going to India prepare yourself. I know there were things I saw that have changed the way I look at life, that I will never forget. First on that list is the image I have in my mind of a beggar who had had his legs cut off. He was dragging is body along the ground at the train station, begging for money. After seeing that, there is no way I can complain about my life at home in Australia.

Just keep in mind that India isn’t an ordinary holiday.

Sometimes travelling isn’t as glamorous as its cracked up to be. Some county’s hygiene standards are way down on what tourists are used to at home. But this doesn’t have to be a problem as long as people are aware and prepared.

So here is my classy 3 item list of essentials to carry with you through third world countries-

  1. Hand sanitiser. Carry this in your purse or backpack because you’ll need to use it often. Before and after eating, when you touch things in stores, use it as often as possible. It is a good idea to sanitise your hands after touching foreign money. From my experience in Asia, sometimes the money feels so dirty that you will want to clean your hands often. There are germs everywhere that tourists aren’t used to. It is best to be on the safe side and avoid getting sick and ruining your holiday. Also, some bathrooms won’t have running water meaning you can’t wash your hands. You’ll definitely be happy to have your hand sanitiser in a situation like that, I sure was.
  2. Toilet paper. A lot of public toilets in not as well off countries don’t provide toilet paper so carry a small roll with you. Don’t worry about it seeming weird – all the tourists are doing the same thing!
  3. Diarrhoea pills. Yes, do not forget your diarrhoea pills. Going to a third world country your chances of getting sick are high and you do not want to be caught off guard. Before going to India and Nepal I ¬†went and visited a travel doctor (which is recommended) and he gave me all the necessary injections such as polio, typhoid and the necessary hepatitis to keep me safe overseas. Visiting a travel doctor was also very good because I was able to purchase a medicine kit with most things I could need overseas. For me this included those diarrhoea pills and other useful sickness tablets including some medicine to help dehydrate your body and altitude sickness tablets as I was going to high altitude levels in Nepal. Important to remember is to pack your medicine in the bag you will have on you at all time and not in your suitcase. You don’t want to have left your tablets in your suitcase, headed to the airport, checked your bags in and then begin to feel sick with no medication and facing a 7 hour flight home. That is not a¬†fun situation.
Don't delay, pack them today!

Don’t delay, pack them today!

Before going overseas I would recommend having a read through your country’s travel advice for your holiday destination. For Australians that can be found via the following link –

http://smartraveller.gov.au/tips/health.html

You may not need these things when overseas but definitely better to be safe than sorry! I hope you’ve found this helpful and remember to be prepared!

Trekking through the Himalayas has undoubtedly been a highlight of my life. The mountains and scenery are picturesque and the culture still relatively untouched by the western world. It is the type of holiday that afterwards when you come home, you have a sense of achievement for what you have accomplished. It isn’t just sightseeing and posing for photos; trekking is tough.

But one of my favourite parts of trekking through the Himalayas is that it allowed me to interact with the local Sherpa people and gave me an insight into their daily lives. The people are hospitable and when you pass them on the road they give you the common greeting “Namaste”. For me, the adorable Nepalese children were a highlight.¬†The children seem to like trekkers a lot as most children my group saw waved and said hello as we passed¬†through their villages.

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Some Nepalese children approaching our group

One charming moment I experienced was on the second day of my trek when my group stopped for¬†a break in a village. These two little kids from the village came running up to our group and started chatting away in Nepalese to us. We had no idea what they were saying so my group tried to say hello to the little kids in both Nepalese and English but we received¬†no response or reaction ¬†from that. I was sitting on a rock and the kids came up to me and started hitting my backpack softly with some leaves they were carrying. None of my group knew what the kids were up to, we all just thought the little kids were cute. ¬†I should mention at this point that along the trek most trekkers buy chocolate¬†bars as snacks to eat during the day. So anyway, One of the kids was looking at me, talking away and then in the middle of a sentence of Nepalese I hear the kid say ‘chocolate’. My whole group started laughing, the kids didn’t know how to say hello but chocolate they had down packed. I had one Twix bar left in my bag so I pulled that out and broke it in half for the two kids to share. Didn’t need to offer the chocolate to the kids, they¬†snatched the chocolate out of my hand¬†the second I had split it and ran back to their house yelling out something in Nepalese. So I found out that cheeky kids are everywhere, even in extremely remote areas such as the Himalayas!

We spent a while laughing about the kids cheekiness after they ran off, they must try to get chocolate off every tourist that comes through their town. I’m sure the kids are successful more times than not, I instantly caved to their cuteness!

Please post your own stories below, I would love to read them! Particularly the stories that made you smile.

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The cheeky chocolate kids

Many Australian travelers never leave the airport when they visit Kuala Lumpur, for them it is just a stop on their way to another destination. But with low cost international Airlines now flying to Kuala Lumpur for cheap prices should we consider Kuala Lumpur for the next holiday destination? I’m from Adelaide and it’s common here for people to head over to Melbourne for a few days for a short trip. However, with the cheap airlines such as Air Asia X flying direct to KL you can get there for approximately $400 return. Accommodation is KL is also relatively cheap compared to Australian prices, I stayed at the Parkroyal for $130 for two nights and it was in a fantastic location, rated by Expedia as 4.5 stars. Once in KL, food, shopping and transport are all cheaper. What I’m saying is people should ditch the interstate¬†trip and go to Malaysia¬†instead. Prices work out ¬†to be similar and if you go to Kuala Lumpur you get to visit a different country and experience a different culture, which to me is far more exciting. ¬† Kuala Lumpur shopping

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Impressive entrance to Pavilion Mall

For me one of the best parts of Kuala Lumpur is the shopping. There are numerous large malls which boast all the big brand stores and fashion labels us Aussies usually miss out on. All the malls have excellent air-conditioning which is a big bonus for people like me (I can’t handle the heat). ¬†There were 3 major shopping malls within a 5 minute walk from my hotel, it was amazing. The bank account took a bit of a battering as I purchased a lot of clothes over there. Its a great feeling buying clothes overseas that aren’t sold in Australia then getting to wear them back home. Quite often I have friends compliment me on things I’ve bought overseas, when they ask where I got it I get to answer with the name of a country instead of a store, takes me back to my holiday and makes me feel special! One of the best shopping malls I went to was Pavilion. There is another large mall which is actually underneath the Petronas Towers called Suria KLCC. You can find out more at http://www.pavilion-kl.com/content/ http://www.suriaklcc.com.my/shopping/

one section of a shopping mall, as you can see they mean business

one section of a shopping mall, as you can see they mean business

The Petronas TowersThe Petronas Towers are quite good looking from a distance as they dominate the skyline. At night when they are lit up the towers make quite a pretty site. Up close I found the Petronas Towers a bit underwhelming. On a previous holiday I had visited Dubai and seen the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building . Compared to that¬†the Petronas Towers¬†aren’t as good, however they are closer to home and therefore easier and cheaper to get to. The towers are worth seeing,¬†I made a mistake when I went to KL, I didn’t book tickets ahead of time to go up into the towers. If you go to KL, definitely look into this. ¬†Also, there is a fabulous shopping mall at the bottom of the towers as mentioned above.

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The Petronas Towers by day

The Batu Caves I only ventured out of the city centre of Kuala Lumpur to see the Batu Caves. I didn’t have high hopes for this attraction as a lot of the trip advisor reviews were negative. Unfortunately I visited the caves on a hot and humid day which made it difficult to enjoy. There are 272 stairs to climb at the Batu caves which may not seem like a big deal but when it’s ridiculously humid it is a challenge and I reached the top out of breath.

Batu Caves are an impressive site from the entrance

For the caves them self – I could see why there were a few bad TripAdvisor reviews, the caves smell bad and aren’t very clean.¬†Also, not so much “caves” as it is “cave”. There are monkeys at the caves and whilst the little ones are cute, I saw one try to take a bottle from another tourist which wasn’t too good. But, you can get some good photos at the caves and the giant gold statue is particularly impressive. If you decide to visit the Batu caves try to do it on a coolish day. As someone who has been to the caves I would recommend them to people visiting Kuala Lumpur. Getting a cab once you are at the caves can be difficult, I ended up taking an average quailty taxi with no air conditioning because I got sick of looking for a decent one. The drive from KL city centre to the Batu Caves is around 30 minutes in length.

The interior of the Batu Caves as seen from the top of the stair case

Looking up from inside one part of the Batu Caves

In summary, Kuala Lumpur has excellent shopping opportunities and offers tourists a different culture. For not a lot of money Australians can go to Kuala Lumpur and in my opinion have a great holiday. For people who want to go overseas but have a limited budget Malaysia is a great choice. Important to keep in mind is that it takes almost 7 hours to fly to Kuala Lumpur, so it would be best to make your stay a few days long to make the travel time worth it. I have only been to Kuala Lumpur and seen built up areas, there is still the rest of Malaysia to explore which I have heard is beautiful. Thanks for reading and if you go to Kuala Lumpur at some point in the future I hope you have a great time!

Elephant bath in Chitwan National Park - a must do if you visit Nepal.

Elephant bath in Chitwan National Park – a must do if you visit Nepal.

I had the good luck to make it to Chitwan National Park when visiting Nepal. This photo here is myself enjoying an elephant bath, something that I never anticipated to do in my life or even knew such an experience existed.

An amzing part of the elephant bath for me was that the day before was the first time I saw an elephant in real life. I was driving up to my hotel and they happened to have an elephant standing out the front. Just seeing the elephant by my hotel was awesome, I still can’t believe I went from one day having never seen an elphant, to seeing one and then the very next day having a bath with one, something very few people on this planet have had the chance to do.

This photo was taken back in February 2012 and is still the most extraordinary thing I’ve done in my life. Nepal is truly unique and a magical place to travel through.

My heart was made to travel

Anyone else feel this way about themself?