Sailing Southeast Asia on a Luxury Cruise!

If the title of this blog post grabbed your attention, just wait until you see the photos from this trip!!

I am incredibly lucky to have the best job in the world. Not only am I allowed to live and work in Asia right now, but I’m also given the most amazing opportunities to sample what we sell at Panache Cruises. So that meant I was asked if I’d like to go on a luxury cruise around Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. Let me think….yes please!

The cruise was with ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn aboard their beautiful ship Encore. I’ve heard such amazing things about Seabourn and couldn’t wait to get onboard. More excited than me, however, was Joe, who had never been on a cruise at all before and was thrilled to be invited along too – talk about starting right at the top!

Having spent a couple of weeks working in Malaysia, we hopped on a bus to Singapore and spent a night in a gorgeous hotel, Grand Park City Hall. It was in a great central location, meaning we were able to use our limited time in the city to do some shopping (we needed some more formal clothes for the cruise!) and get food at our favourite restaurant, Zam Zam’s, near the Sultan Mosque.

We headed to the cruise port the following day after lunch and after checking in our bags and handing in our passports we embarked the ship – the whole process was quick and smooth and we were just so excited to be among the first to get onboard!

We headed straight to our designated suite, ​​a beautiful Veranda Suite on Deck 6, and popped open the bottle of Champagne waiting for us upon arrival. The suite was so spacious with the comfiest bed in the world, a lovely veranda, dining table, walk-in closet, and stunning bathroom with double vanity. The perfect place to call home for the next 14 nights!

After a quick tipple we decided to explore the ship and get our bearings, plus this was a great opportunity for me to take some photos and videos for work whilst there was virtually no one else around. We ran around like excited children, exploring the restaurants, bars, lounges, spa, gym, and other open decks. Of course, we had to stop off at the pool bar and order a Singapore Sling – it would’ve been rude not to seeing as we were in Singapore!

It was soon time to head back to our suite, unpack our bags, and get ready for the evening. We had an absolutely divine first meal in The Restaurant, which is the most formal dining venue on the ship. It was such a novelty to dress up and head to a fancy dinner where we drank too much wine, ate delicious filet de boeuf, sublime sweet desserts, and shared a cheese platter with a port wine pairing – when I tell you I missed cheese over the past four months in Asia, I mean I nearly cried eating this. Our first evening ended at The Club, a music venue and bar onboard where we spent pretty much every evening of the cruise, either for a pre-dinner drink, competing in team trivia during the day, or for a dance late into the night. Day one of the cruise had been a huge success and it just felt so surreal to be onboard – and trust me, that feeling never really wore off.

To spare you every single detail of our lives for the two weeks we spent on Seabourn Encore, I will share a little summary of the highlights of the cruise!


You’ve heard a bit about The Restaurant but we also visited for lunchtime one day when there was an event called the Galley Market. This was where the fantastic culinary team prepared and laid out a huge buffet in the galley itself and guests were invited to walk through and serve themselves. There were hot and cold food stations, desserts, cheeses, themed foods, freshly carved meat, and a ginormous wheel of cheese with spaghetti swirled inside it! It was a fantastic behind-the-scenes view at the galley kitchens and gave us the chance to meet the talented chefs who worked tirelessly throughout the voyage to provide the most incredible food for us.

Other highlights were The Grill at Thomas Keller, the signature restaurant onboard Seabourn Encore where reservations are required. We went twice, once just the two of us and once with the singers who we got to know throughout the voyage. If you don’t know, Thomas Keller is the only American chef to boast three Michelin stars at two different restaurants, and he’s partnered with Seabourn to create an amazing menu of classic, homely dishes with a twist. Think mac and cheese but throw some lobster and artichoke in there, or chicken cordon bleu with the creamiest whipped mash and the most delicious vegetables you’ve ever eaten.

Dining in Thomas Keller with the wonderful Seabourn Singers

We also ate a couple of times at the Sushi restaurant onboard and tried a variety of nigiri, sashimi, gyozas, miso soup, matcha ice cream, and western style sushi rolls. Delicious! The Patio is the casual poolside restaurant where we enjoyed burgers, pizzas, and homemade salads, and at night it turned into the more elegant Earth & Ocean restaurant. This was a great spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset and try some gorgeous dishes including slow-cooked lamb, juicy swordfish, creamy king prawns, and baked camembert.

The place we ate at the most onboard though was The Colonnade. This was open for a fantastic buffet breakfast and lunch, and for dinner there was a different theme each night. We went for French night (snails and French onion soup, yum!), Italian night (risotto and pesto pasta), Vietnamese night (pho, spring rolls, and crispy crab), and the Indian night (we love Indian food so this was fab). I will never ever get tired of a full English breakfast and I loved the theme concept, especially when we were eating Vietnamese food on the terrace overlooking Ho Chi Minh City.

We also indulged in room service a number of times (usually when a little hungover) and this was one of those things we found really luxurious. Forget dressing up and going to a fancy restaurant for dinner – eating pasta in bed or a huge breakfast on the balcony and having it all brought to you and laid out is a real luxury.

The Excursions

Another highlight for us was obviously getting to visit so many different places. I never thought I’d be a huge cruise fan but it’s actually such a great way to travel and see so many places in one luxurious holiday. Our itinerary took us from Singapore to Bangkok, Koh Kood (a Thai island close to Cambodia), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Ho Chi Minh City, Port Klang (near to Kuala Lumpur), and back to Singapore. There were five sea days interspersed in the itinerary where everyone was onboard, and we decided to also stay onboard for the Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur sections as we have already visited. Also, for us, being on the ship was the main experience in itself.

We did get off the ship in Koh Kood, Sihanoukville, and Ho Chi Minh City, however. Koh Kood was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life so far. It’s where Seabourn hosts their signature event, Caviar in the Surf. We got a tender boat to a private beach on the island and it’s nothing short of paradise. The crew rolled out the red carpet for us (literally) and served us Champagne, cocktails, and put on a huge barbecue for lunch.

The main event was the cruise director Aimee and some of the culinary team whipping out a surfboard and serving caviar off it while standing in the ocean. It was quite simply insane. Joe and I absolutely loved this event and will remember it forever as one of the most bizarre and unique experiences of our lives. The rest of the day was spent paddleboarding, swimming with tropical fish, and drinking more cocktails.

Sihanoukville is not somewhere I’d ever visit again, although I said that last time I went in 2016…we spent a couple of hours at a local market and walked along the beach, but the place is so run down and we were happy to just stretch our legs and get back on the ship. Ho Chi Minh City, on the other hand, was phenomenal. I loved it when I visited before and couldn’t wait to go with Joe for the first time. We visited the War Remnants Museum, a really harrowing place but an absolute must to learn about the history of the country. We strolled the streets for a few hours and found a bunch of other places that we can’t wait to visit when we go back, hopefully later this year or early next year!

Just….being on the ship

To be honest, as I said before, the main experience for us was just being onboard such a beautiful ship. We had every intention of going to the gym (I love a good treadmill view), trying a 7am yoga class, going in the sauna and maybe treating myself to the spa, but none of those things happened. 

Most days we chilled by the pool with a book and cocktail (or five), one day we sampled afternoon tea in the Observation Lounge which was a real treat, and on a few occasions we joined team trivia – and even won on our final day! I didn’t even mind having to do some work onboard, as I got to do it in the beautiful Seabourn Square, a lovely lounge with indoor and outdoor seating and a little cafe which served the best cookies ever.

But most of all, we simply loved spending time with the friends we made onboard, meeting for pre- and post-dinner drinks in The Club every night. The entertainment on Seabourn Encore was also absolutely fantastic. I wouldn’t say I’m a theatre-goer or a music fanatic, but I found myself looking forward to the performances every single evening, which ranged from Jamie Raven’s spectacular magic show (which Joe took part in!) to a classical/jazz piano fusion performance to the very best musical numbers performed by Seabourn’s amazing singers and dancers. We fully expected to be having early nights, but everyone onboard was up for a party and the atmosphere was great.

All in all this was such an amazing experience to share together for the first time and a welcome break from the budget backpacking we’ve been doing for the past few months! Joe loved his first cruising experience and I think it will be a hard one to beat. Thank you so much to both Seabourn and Panache for getting us onboard!

Want to find out more about luxury cruising? Read about my first ever cruise around Greece with Silversea here and head to Panache Cruises to see if you fancy trying a cruise for yourself 😉 

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Life as digital nomads in Bangkok

After a wonderful few weeks of travelling around Singapore and Malaysia, we were ready to get back to work and start planning the next lot of adventures around Southeast Asia.

I don’t remember ever coming to a decision on Thailand, but Joe and I have both been before (separately) and it just seemed the right place to start our remote working / digital nomad journey together.

Although I really wasn’t a fan of Bangkok the first time I visited in 2016, Joe had only visited as a child so he was keen to go back and see the city, eat the world famous street food, and experience its nightlife. I figured that I should give it another try, so we booked a month in an AirBnB on the outskirts of the city.

I know, a month is a long time to give somewhere you once hated another try, but we needed to settle after a busy few weeks travelling and being on the go non-stop. It was also over the Christmas and New Year period, so it felt like the right time to settle into a little home away from home for a month. 

We stayed in a lovely little apartment near the Watthana district, about a 20 minute skytrain ride from the centre of the city. The building had a state-of-the-art gym, library, conference room, swimming pool and saunas, so we felt like we were living in luxury! It was great to make use of the facilities and get into a pleasant daily routine of working, going to the gym or for a swim, nipping out the nearby shop for groceries, cooking our own meals, working some more, and spending relaxing evenings watching Netflix or reading.

Looking back now, it was a great choice to stay out of the city centre as we weren’t tempted to go out for food and drinks every night, so we were able to really formulate a good, healthy routine throughout the week and then explore the city and indulge a bit more on the weekends.

At the end of the day, our goal whilst we are out here living and working is to get our heads down and earn enough to continue travelling. As much as we would love to be out and about as much as possible, we also have to give ourselves time to slow down and churn out some work. 

At the time of writing this, we are well over 3 months into our digital nomad journey and we are finally getting the hang of balancing work and play. It all has to be sustainable so we can continue living our dream life. Essentially, our everyday routine is similar to when we are back home in the UK (work, eat, sleep, repeat), but with the added bonus of good weather, exotic food, cheap living, and having these amazing places on our doorstep to explore at the weekend.

We both loved our month in Bangkok and found it was a good amount of time to stay in one place. Joe definitely loved it more than I did and has already said he’d love to go back and do the same again for a few months. I, on the other hand, feel like it prepared me for digital nomad life, gave me a taste of the work/life balance whilst on the road, and allowed me to see the sights, but I wouldn’t rush back. For me, there’s too many other places on my bucket list. I also feel like more than a month in a huge city like Bangkok would be too much, so I’m happy doing 2-4 week stints in slightly smaller cities, rural areas, and on quiet tropical islands (!!).

Do you have any questions about living for a month in Bangkok? Let me know in the comments or pop me a DM on Instagram @ wheresliv_

Two Week Itinerary for Malaysia

In late November and early December 2022, Joe and I spent 16 days exploring Western Malaysia. We absolutely loved our time there and before we had even left, we had begun talking about our next visit and when that might be. Malaysia is full of fascinating culture, interesting history, incredible food, friendly people, crazy drivers, bustling cities, lush jungles, stunning mountains, and gorgeous beaches. 

It is also, in our opinion, massively underrated as a travel destination in Southeast Asia.

If you’ve never been to Asia before and you’re a bit daunted by the prospect of a huge culture shock, Malaysia is the perfect place to start. Most people speak a fairly good level of English, certainly enough to get about in both urban and rural places. It’s nice and cheap and the public transport was very reliable in our experience. 

In this guide, I wanted to showcase the best of Malaysia, the highlights of our two week itinerary, and encourage you to visit.


Best time to visit: November to March for Peninsular Malaysia (the West), June to September for the East Coast (dry season), March to October for Malaysian Borneo

How long to spend in Malaysia: 10 days to 3 weeks

Currency and exchange rate: Malaysian Ringgit – currently around 5 MYR to 1 GBP

Language: Malay/Bahasa – most people also speak very good English

So, this is my recommended itinerary – it differs only slightly to ours but if we were to do the same trip again, this is how we’d do it…

3 DAYS – Kuala Lumpur

Arrive in Kuala Lumpur and settle into your hotel in the Bukit Bintang district. Spend your first day exploring KL Eco Forest Park, climb to the top of KL Tower and enjoy the views from the Sky Box! End your day shopping at Petaling Street market and eating delicious food in Chinatown.

On your second day in Kuala Lumpur, get a Grab to Batu Caves and climb the colourful steps to the beautiful cave temple. Head back into the city and walk the streets of Little India and Jalan Alor, sampling some of the best food in Kuala Lumpur.

Finally, head to the Botanical Gardens and enjoy a picnic while you keep an eye out for spectacular wildlife, including tropical birds, butterflies, and monitor lizards. In the afternoon, visit the Petronas Towers and if you fancy it, go up to the sky bridge which connects the two towers. Go shopping in the many malls in this modern part of the city and watch the light show in the evening.

Read my in-depth guide to Kuala Lumpur here!

3 DAYS – Cameron Highlands

Catch an early bus to Tanah Rata, the main town in the Cameron Highlands. It’s chillier up here which will be refreshing after the humidity of Kuala Lumpur. Once you’ve arrived, explore the quaint little town on foot and enjoy the cafe culture and good food.

Spend the next couple of days hiking up to the next town, Brinchang, where you’ll find strawberry farms and the quirky Time Tunnel Museum which details the history of the Malaysian highlands, including early colonialism and the impact of the Second World War in this remote region.

Downhill from Tanah Rata you’ll find the beautiful Bharat Tea Plantation. Take a tour of the tea fields and go for a short hike around ‘Jungle Trail 10’ which you can find on Google maps. Be mindful of sticking to the path, though, and it’s best to do this in the morning when it’s cooler before the afternoon rain rolls in.

3 DAYS – Penang

Hop on another bus to Penang Island where you’ll stay in the ‘capital’, George Town. This colourful and multicultural town is a backpacker’s paradise, providing colonial architecture, historical sites, fantastic street food, and nearby beaches.

Spend your three days here relaxing, drinking coffee, eating good food, and wandering the streets of this very walkable town. If you’re after a bit of adventure, get a taxi to Penang Botanical Gardens and head off the beaten path to a secluded waterfall – this 30 minute hike is *technically* out of bounds but if you download the app, you’ll find the route clearly marked and it’s very easy to follow through the forest as someone has kindly tied red markers to the trees.

5 DAYS – Langkawi

Finish up your two week itinerary by catching a 40 minute flight from Penang to Langkawi. This beautiful island has suffered from the lack of tourism due to the pandemic but the people are incredibly friendly and there is an abundance of things to do. 

Stay in the Pantai Cenang area on the west coast of the island – Kuah town used to be very popular but there is now next to nothing to do there and it costs more to get taxis if you stay on that side of the island. Instead, enjoy Cenang beach and its many beach bars, live music, fire shows, and watersports available there. 

The activity we recommend you don’t miss is a boat trip. Take a tour of the nearby smaller islands to see golden eagles, craggy islands, and the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden (from a distance the island looks like a pregnant woman lying down!). Enjoy jumping in this lovely freshwater lake surrounded by cliffs or hire a paddleboard, kayak or an underwater handheld jet ski.

Make the trek up to Telaga Tujuh waterfall and hitch a ride in a cable car to the relatively new Langkawi Sky Bridge. The waterfall is completely free but the sky bridge costs around £15 per person (don’t forget to book your tickets on Klook for extra discount!). Without a doubt this provides the most incredible views over the island and the ocean beyond – if you’re not one for heights, I promise it’s still worth it!

Finally, one activity we didn’t do but will certainly do next time, is to take a tour of the Geoforest park and the mangroves in the northeast. This part of the island is full of wildlife, jungle, craggy mountains, and golden beaches.

On day 14, make your way back to Kuala Lumpur by flying either directly from Langkawi or via Penang.

So, what do you think to spending a couple of weeks in Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s hidden gem?

There is, of course, plenty more to see and do in this beautiful country. We would have loved to visit the east coast, but sadly it was monsoon season. We also skipped Malacca on the southwest coast and have since been told how amazing it is, so that’s one place we’re dying to go back to!

For any other digital nomads like us, Malaysia is a great place to live and work for a couple of months. It’s definitely on our radar if we end up deciding to change our plans. But maybe I’ll save that for another blog post…

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Ultimate Guide to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a huge hub in Southeast Asia, yet I don’t know many people who have been. It’s home to one of the most iconic structures in the world – the Petronas Towers – and is a melting pot of culture, history and culinary experiences.

We visited in November 2022 and spent 3 days exploring this not-so-hidden gem and capital city of Malaysia. Here’s the rundown of where we stayed, where (and what) we ate, what we did, and some helpful tips to make your trip to Kuala Lumpur easy to organise and full of fun activities.


The Bukit Bintang is the most popular and central area for tourists to stay. It’s walkable to almost all the usual tourist sites and caters well to visitors with some fantastic places to eat and drink. We stayed at the beautiful Ceylonz Suites, right next to the Eco Forest Park. The hotel itself was absolutely stunning – it caters to both short stay tourists and those who wish to stay a little longer, with a conference room/working space, rooftop ‘garden’ and pool, bar and restaurant. It was a little pricey up there so we indulged in a cocktail one night and didn’t bother eating there, preferring instead to venture into the city.

The ‘suites’ themselves are absolutely incredible for the price. The room featured a very modern wet room/bathroom, a small kitchenette (we like to make our own coffees and buy breakfasts and lunches whenever possible to reduce costs), a big comfortable bed, smart TV, and a huge window with panoramic views over the city – we could even see KL Tower and the Petronas Towers! For all of this, we paid just £150 for four nights!


Kuala Lumpur was our first stop in Malaysia and we really weren’t sure what to expect when it came to food. We were pleasantly surprised to find that in addition to traditional Malaysian dishes, Indian cuisine is incredibly popular! 

Kuala Lumpur’s ‘Little India’, lying just outside the city centre to the southwest (on Google maps you’ll find it in the Brickfields district), is not so little at all – the Indian population here is significant and so there are tons of fantastic restaurants and street food stalls in this part of the city. We had a fantastic meal with a couple from our hotel at a brilliant restaurant right in the heart of Little India where we enjoyed creamy butter chicken, vegetable dhal, and fresh garlic naan. In fact, throughout Malaysia we loved the Indian influence and ate many roti cannai for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Jalan Alor is one of the main food streets in Kuala Lumpur and we ate there twice, it was so good. This vibrant al fresco food district is filled with Malaysian, Indian and Chinese street food restaurants. The atmosphere was fantastic and the food really authentic. We tried a number of fried rice dishes, nasi lemak (a Malaysian chicken and rice dish), calamari, chicken satay, and finished off with deliciously fresh coconut ice cream (served in an actual coconut!) for dessert.

The surrounding streets house lively bars and pubs directed at tourists, so if you fancy a bit of a night out, this is the place to go.

Petaling Street is one of the main streets running through Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown and is home to a few street food stalls as well as lots of clothing and trinket stalls. We didn’t eat here as we found it a bit touristy with people just trying to sell you things, but it’s well worth a visit and if you wander the surrounding streets you’ll find some of the best food in Kuala Lumpur. We ate in Chinatown twice (on a street called Jalan Sultan which is just filled with restaurants and cafes) and had some of the best food of our trip, including crispy sweet and sour pork, stir fried ginger and garlic veggies, and pork noodle soup.

One thing which did surprise us was that alcohol was expensive here and in Malaysia as a whole. This made total sense when it clicked that the main religion in Malaysia is Islam and therefore drinking is not a part of the culture. It was only ever tourists drinking and it wasn’t uncommon for restaurants to not serve alcohol at all. A large Tiger beer (just over a pint) cost around £4-5, so if you’re drinking every evening Malaysia suddenly becomes a not-so-budget place! Just be mindful of getting drunk and stick to having a drink or two in an actual bar if you fancy a treat.


There are things to see and do aplenty in Kuala Lumpur and we spent our 3 days balancing fun activities with wandering the busy streets across the city. Here are the top 5 things you absolutely must do on a visit to Kuala Lumpur:

KL Tower and Sky Box

Unexpectedly, our favourite activity during our trip to Kuala Lumpur was ascending the Menara tower, also known as KL Tower. It is the 7th tallest tower in the world (specifically tower, not building), standing at 421 metres tall! This structure looks remarkably like the iconic Toronto Space Needle and boasts the best views over the city. 

There are two sky boxes at the top where you can take off your shoes and walk to the edge of the glass box sticking out of the side… it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted! One box provides views of the Petronas Towers below while the other side offers a view of the newly built 118-storey, 678 metre-tall skyscraper, Merdeka 118. We bought our tickets the day before on the Klook app for £14 each rather than the usual £20 that we would have paid if we had queued up.

Petronas Towers

Also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, these identical 88-storey, 451-metre towers are an icon of Kuala Lumpur. This spectacular feat of engineering and architectural design was what I was most excited to see before we arrived in the city. It certainly didn’t disappoint! The sky bridge which connects the two towers is a popular activity for tourists but having been up to KL Tower’s sky deck we decided to give it a miss. One thing you must do is make sure to see the towers both during the day and at night; the towers glitter in the sunlight and sparkle even more at night. Visit the Petronas Towers between 8pm and 10pm to catch the Symphony Lake Show – a delightful show of music, coloured lights, and impressive water features!

Batu Caves

Another big reason for wanting to visit Kuala Lumpur was to go to Batu Caves! This beautiful site just on the edge of the city is free to enter (additional temples and shrines request a small fee) and was a real highlight of our visit. In fact, it was probably tied with KL Tower as my personal favourite. 

The vibrant, colourfully-painted staircase built into the side of the mountain takes visitors into a vast cave filled with shrines, music… and monkeys. Mind these cheeky fellas when you walk up the steps as they will jump on you if you’re not careful! The rainbow steps aren’t the only recognisable feature of Batu Caves though. The gigantic golden statue of Murugan, the Hindu God of War, is truly dazzling. Standing at 42 metres tall, this statue is actually bigger than Christ the Redeemer!

Top tip: get a Grab to Batu Caves early – we arrived at around 8:45 and there were only a few people around. By the time we were leaving at 10:30 the tour buses had rolled in, there were people everywhere, and it was getting very hot!

Eco Forest Park

Not one of the top activities you hear a lot about but the eco forest park was nestled below KL tower right by our hotel, so we spent a couple of hours there one morning doing the treetop walk. It cost a few pounds each to enter and the views of KL tower and the surrounding city were beautiful. Despite the mosquitoes we had a great time and would recommend combining this with a visit to KL tower.

Kuala Lumpur Botanical Gardens

We love exploring local parks and gardens, they’re a great way to spend an afternoon stretching your legs and seeing a bit of nature away from the hustle and bustle of a city. Kuala Lumpur Botanical Gardens are vast and while there’s not much to do there besides walk around admiring the natural beauty of the place – and looking out for monitor lizards – it’s a great place to spend a couple of hours with a picnic by the lake.


Resources we absolutely couldn’t do without when we visited Kuala Lumpur were:


Basically Asia’s version of Uber, Grab allowed us to easily order taxis to pick us up from any location around the city and cost significantly less than the standard taxis. For example, when we first arrived in the city and didn’t yet have the Grab app, we paid a taxi driver (after haggling a bit of course) around £10 to take us to our hotel. This same journey using Grab would’ve been around £4-5. Doh! However, it is worth asking around in each place you visit to make sure Grab is the cheapest. We have since visited a couple of places where it’s the same price as a standard taxi, and once it was actually way more expensive. But in general, Grab is a must-have while you’re travelling in Southeast Asia.


We were told about Klook by a very kind Aussie couple we met in our hotel. Basically it’s an app (or website) which gives you discounts to a wide variety of activities around Southeast Asia. We first used it to book the Skydeck at KL Tower which saved us £6 each, and since used it a number of times in Malaysia and Thailand and saved loads!


Easybook helped us throughout Malaysia when it came to booking buses from one city to the next. It was very well priced – sometimes cheaper than we were told in tourist offices or even what we found from searching elsewhere online – and simple to book. Every journey we took was booked and paid for within minutes and we received detailed instructions via email on how to pick up bus tickets from each terminal/bus stop. If you’re budget backpackers like us, Easybook is another must have in Southeast Asia.

Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight into our time in Kuala Lumpur and might even help you plan a future trip to the city! 

One more note – if you are flying via Kuala Lumpur to anywhere else in Asia or Australasia, I highly recommend extending your stay to see the sights. It gives you a great taste of Malaysia and is a really cheap city to stay in and explore for those on a budget. 

Don’t forget to add Kuala Lumpur to your Southeast Asia bucket list!

Travel Snippets: Singapore to Kuala Lumpur

I think I might start a new style of post on here called ‘travel snippets’. I’m always really intrigued how people get from A to B. The actual TRAVEL side of travelling. The bits that a lot of people are put off by, or find stressful and difficult to organise.

I’m sure we’ll have those moments – I’ve certainly had them in the past. Throwback to the 29 hour bus journey from hell from Vietnam to Laos…

Anyway, we consider our first real travel day as the day we left Singapore and headed to Malaysia. The flight from London to Singapore barely counts as we just slept on a plane for 13 hours, so this was really our first taste of figuring out how to get from one place to another… including a border crossing.

Where do you even start?

Our first step (and something I do everywhere I go) was to simply ask at the front desk of our hotel. “Hello, I’d like to go to Kuala Lumpur in 2 days’ time. How do I get there?”

Two minutes later, I have a paper map with instructions on how to get to the nearest bus station. So, we set out and twenty minutes later we were filling out our information, choosing our seats, and handing over $60 for our tickets – about £18 each.

Two days later we rocked up at the bus station 30 minutes before our bus was due to arrive (as instructed, although I am always early), having popped into 7/11 on the way for some water and snacks for the journey. The essentials, obviously.

We were pleasantly surprised by the bus, expecting something very basic. But no, this is Singapore! Everything is clean and comfortable and looks brand new. We had comfy reclining seats and more space than we had on our flight over.

An enjoyable journey from Singapore to Malaysia on a very comfortable bus 🙂
A bus seat which comfortably fits Joe’s 6’5″ frame is a winner!

Legal immigrants…

The bus journey was also only around 6 hours, including the time it took to stop off at Singapore immigration and then go through Malaysian immigration. After one hour we reached Singapore immigration. Singapore has high-tech passport scanners and there was no queue so it literally took 5 minutes. The only downside to visiting Singapore is that it’s all digital, so we didn’t get a stamp in our shiny new passports. Hey ho.

We walked through the terminal and our bus picked us up the other side and drove another 20 minutes to Malaysian immigration, where we only queued for about 10 minutes to get stamped into the country.

Another new country ticked off!

After all this had been sorted, we set off on the remaining 4 hour journey to Kuala Lumpur, the excitement well and truly bubbling within us by this point. Here, the adventure really begins!

With a quick stop off for toilets and a bite to eat (we thought we wouldn’t get a proper lunch stop so this was highly appreciated) the rest of the journey was spent listening to music and gazing out of the bus windows at the gorgeous scenery we passed.

First impressions

Malaysia is such a beautiful, green country and these first glimpses were a wonderful insight of what was to come. We passed mountains, lush forests, and ramshackle little towns en route to Kuala Lumpur. When we could eventually see tall buildings rising in the distance, we were excited to arrive and start the next phase of our adventure.

Not the clearest photo, but driving through the lush green countryside of Malaysia got us very excited for the next few weeks there

We were dropped off at one of the main bus terminals right in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, and this is where we experienced a bit of temporary stress.

We knew we needed to get to our hotel via taxi, but first we needed to get some WiFi or signal to show a taxi driver where we needed to go, and then we needed to also pay them in cash. So our first mission was to find an ATM. 

We thought the mall right next to where we were dropped off would have one so went inside to have a look. I don’t think the security guards were keen on us lingering around trying to connect to some public WiFi with our huge rucksacks on but we got there eventually and nearly broke our backs trudging around looking for a cash machine.

As soon as we were in the taxi, we breathed a sigh of relief. We haggled fairly easily (I low-key love haggling in Asia, it’s fun) so the taxi only cost us around £8 if I remember correctly. We definitely could have got this cheaper but coming to terms with a new currency and exchange rate and what is considered good value for money is always a challenge upon first entering a new country or city. Our taxi driver was very friendly (if slightly erratic in his driving ability) and we soon collapsed in our bed on the 35th floor of our gorgeous hotel. More on this later…

Look out for my next blog post all about Kuala Lumpur!

Our Travel Goal: 50 Before 30

It feels appropriate to write about our big travel goal at the beginning of a new year. 2023 is set to be a pretty epic year of travel and we’re already trying to work out ways of doing as much as possible while balancing our workload, meeting friends and family, and saving for the future.

So, our big travel goal. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a mental list of all the places I want to go and all the things I want to see and do.

When I was around 7 or 8, I used to get the National Geographic Kids magazine every single month. Although my parents were keen travellers and took us on fantastic holidays throughout my childhood, I really feel that this magazine had a huge impact on my travel aspirations from a young age.

I used to sit and cut out pages with the Pyramids, Machu Picchu, and the Great Barrier Reef to stick on my wardrobe. One in particular which stood out and has remained with me, is the desire to visit Malawi, and more specifically, to go to the Lilongwe Monkey Sanctuary. In my childhood fantasies, I imagined one day I would be a conservationist at this exact monkey sanctuary. Now, my goals may have changed a bit, but it is still one of the top places I want to visit one day.

What I mean by all this, is that I’ve been gradually adding to this mental list of places I want to travel over the years. And I think most people probably do, right?

So naturally, Joe and I have a number of travel ideas, goals, and plans for the near and distant future. Where we want to travel, why we want to visit those places, and when we want to visit.

While the list of specific places and sites is looooong, we’ve decided on a slightly more achievable and less specific goal which we hope to accomplish within the next 5 years.

Before we turn 30, we want to have each visited 50 countries.

Now that may sound crazy, but fear not, I don’t mean we’re going to start from scratch. I’ve been to 29 countries according to the Been app, and Joe has been to 22. That means I have 21 and Joe has 28 to go. The tricky thing will be when we visit countries that one of us has already been to – like Singapore for example, I recently ticked that off but Joe already visited years ago with his family.

This idea was kind of inspired by travel vloggers Kara and Nate on my part, as they set out on their travels a few years ago with the goal of visiting 100 countries, which they achieved just before the pandemic in 2020.

With some of the ideas we have for this year in Asia, we should be well on our way to hitting 50 countries in time, especially considering Joe will be racking up his numbers as we visit places I’ve already been and he hasn’t. However, we’ve not got a rigid plan to stick to, so it’ll be exciting to see where we end up!

Where do you think we should add to our list? And where is on your bucket list?

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How to Travel Singapore on a Budget

Singapore is known to be an expensive city to visit, especially compared to its far more affordable neighbours throughout Southeast Asia.

However, don’t be put off – it is 100% possible to visit Singapore on a budget!

Ok, maybe it won’t be a £20 per day budget like many other places in Asia, BUT it can be done cheaply without missing out on the best sights and activities. If you haven’t already, have a read of my ‘Top 10 Things To Do in Singapore’ blog post for an overview of the places we visited and the things we did in the two full days we spent there.

We didn’t over-plan too much before arriving in Singapore as we wanted to just take it day by day and see where our money could get us. We were pleasantly surprised by how much we were able to see and do on this budget!

I’m going to give you my best tips on how to visit Singapore on a budget, but first let’s start with a quick summary of our spending throughout our 3 nights in Singapore.

  • Hotel Boss – £305.26
  • MRT – £16.17
  • 7/11 (water, snacks etc.) – £22.10
  • Activities – £67.97
  • Food & Drink – £247.08 (bear in mind a fifth of this was on one drink each in Raffles!)
  • Bus to Kuala Lumpur – £50.92 (it wasn’t quite this much but it’s what we withdrew in cash to pay for tickets and probably spent the rest on food)
  • Total – £709.50 = £354.75 per person

That’s less than £120 per person per day! This was even with us indulging in beers (had to be done while watching the World Cup right?) and choosing one of the most expensive places to drink in Singapore – Raffles.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that we travelled to Singapore as a couple, so the cost of our hotel was split in two. If you visit as a solo traveller, my first tip is to…


Hostels are great places to meet like-minded travellers and they can range from very basic to slightly more bougie. I tend to look at Hostelworld to book any hostels on my travels. A quick search on there shows that a bunk in a 10-bed mixed dorm a little further out of the centre (but easily accessible by metro) would cost as little as £20 per night. Somewhere a bit closer to Marina Bay might set you back up to £100 per night so I would recommend picking a budget option and catching the MRT in. Just make sure to check reviews and ensure it’s not only clean but that you would feel safe there.


Probably my number one tip is do not bother with restaurants in Singapore. Seek out some food halls or hawker centres for authentic street food options. We did this every day and a meal for one person plus a drink would cost around £2-5. Chinatown is a popular choice for street food as there are so many options, but make sure to also try Little India.


It might seem a bit daunting getting the local transport as soon as you arrive in a new place, but the metro in Singapore is the easiest I have ever used. It’s well signed within the airport and everything is in English, so buying your ticket is really easy. Plus, it’s FAR cheaper than getting a taxi from the airport to your hotel! I think it cost us £2.50 each to travel about 20 minutes to the stop closest to our hotel. In contrast, a Grab (which is cheaper than a regular taxi) would cost about £20.


The MRT may be cheap but I highly recommend walking around the city. The streets are clean and safe, people are friendly and will gladly help with directions, and there are just so many little streets you might not otherwise see if you were to get a taxi everywhere. The longest we walked was from our hotel near Little India to Marina Bay Sands. It was around 40 minutes and we found some gorgeous spots along the way, including a lovely cafe which served great coffee and we stumbled across a lovely park en route.


There are some fantastic free things to do in Singapore which really surprised us on our visit! Our top 3 free activities were exploring Little India and Chinatown by foot, watching the light show at Marina Bay Sands, and spotting monitor lizards in the Botanical Gardens.


If you want to visit loads of places which cost a fortune, I’d suggest making a list and picking your top 3. If you only have 3 days in Singapore, this is also a sensible idea time-wise, as you don’t want to pay for things and then have to rush them to get to the next one. Our 3 main activities were the Cloud Forest, the treetop walk at the Supertree Grove, and a Singapore Sling in Raffles. Everything else we did was either free or only cost us a few pounds on the metro to get there. It might be worth having a look on Klook to see if there are any guided tours which tick off multiple sights in one day.

And finally…. Don’t get carried away with alcohol! To be honest it wasn’t too bad, probably the same prices as back home in the UK. If the World Cup hadn’t been on when we visited, I don’t think we would have spent as much. So if you’re really looking to tighten your budget, maybe stick to water and pop for a few days in Singapore.

We definitely could’ve spent less but at the end of the day we had an amazing time and ticked off some great sights on our bucket list.

Are you surprised by how much (or how little) we spent?

I’d love to hear your tips for travelling to Singapore (and other typically expensive destinations) on a budget!

Top 10 Things To Do in Singapore

Singapore is a city of contrasts. It’s vast, technologically advanced, and surprisingly multicultural. But it’s also somehow relaxing, slow-paced, and incredibly friendly. 

I’m not a natural city person so this laidback vibe was welcomed, especially given the jet lag, 8 hours time difference, and general culture shock.

Now I’ll be honest, I hadn’t researched very much for Singapore. I’d literally just Googled ‘top things to do’ and made a note of a few things so we wouldn’t be short of ideas. So when we arrived, we got out Google maps and just had a look at what came up.

We were in Singapore for 3 nights, staying near Little India in a great hotel called Hotel Boss. This location was fantastic as it was possible to walk all the way to the marina, but we were also just a few minutes’ walk from the closest MRT (metro station) on the East-West line so we were well connected with the rest of the city.

As soon as we had a look on Google maps, hundreds of tourist sites and pinned locations started popping up. With two full days to explore, we figured we’d spend one day down at the Marina Bay Sands area and our second day around our ‘local’ area and tick off any extra sites we wanted to visit. 

One other thing we tried to be conscious of was spending on activities. Singapore is known to be an expensive city (maybe the most expensive in the world?) but we actually found it to be not too bad – as long as you balance out what you pay for versus free activities around the city.

So, after covering around 40,000 steps over these two days, here’s what we decided are the top 10 things to do in Singapore (including a few we didn’t have time to see/do)…

Visit the Cloud Forest

The Cloud Forest was the number one thing I’ve wanted to go to in Singapore as I saw a photo on Instagram about 6 years ago and it just looked magical. Since then it’s always been on my mind to replicate that photo and when I got to see the stunning waterfall and listen to birdsong as we walked inside, I teared up. This was something I had hyped up in my mind and it did not disappoint – especially because we were some of the first people there at 9:45am. This activity was our most expensive in Singapore and cost $45 each (approx. £28).

Do the treetop walk at Gardens by the Bay

Whilst you’re down by the bay you MUST visit Gardens by the Bay. We walked along the Marina Promenade past the racetracks and when we turned the corner we could see the otherworldly ‘trees’ rising across the bay. Walk over the Helix Bridge and through Marina Bay Sands hotel to reach the Gardens and make sure to ascend the trees and walk along the Skyway. This is quite a quick activity and takes around 15 minutes to complete the walk and take photos, and cost $10 each (approx. £7).

Watch the light show at Marina Bay Sands

A must for any visit to Singapore, grab a beer or an ice cream (or both) and sit on the steps in the Bay to watch the musical light show outside the iconic hotel. The show takes place every night at 8pm and 9pm (plus 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays) and lasts around 15 minutes, plus it’s free!

Eat at a local food court or hawker centre

Food is definitely what adds to the high cost of visiting Singapore, UNLESS you stick to eating in local food courts and hawker centres! On our first night we managed to stumble across a little food court where we ate two nights in a row, and both times the bill came to around £10 in total for a huge plate of rice, vegetables and meat, plus a drink each.

Wander the streets around the Sultan Mosque

This area around Singapore’s most famous mosque and Little India surrounding it is a really underrated part of the city. Our hotel was close by and we could see the golden minarets of the mosque poking out behind some other buildings which piqued our curiosity. This quiet area of the city is also home to some fantastic restaurants – head to Zam Zams if you want real cheap Indian cuisine!

Find monitor lizards in Singapore Botanic Gardens

We caught the MRT about 20 minutes north of the city to the Botanic Gardens and it was lovely to walk around. We were constantly amazed by how green Singapore is and the gardens were just beautiful! It’s completely free to walk around (you can pay to go into the butterfly garden and the orchid garden but we chose not to) and the highlight was spotting monitor lizards sloping around in the shade.

Try a Singapore Sling in Raffles Hotel

Visiting Raffles may be another expensive activity in Singapore but in our opinion it just has to be done, it really is one of those once-in-a-lifetime bucket list ticks for us. We went at about 6pm for a pre-dinner drink and queued for about 10 minutes to get a seat at the Long Bar and then spent…wait for it….twenty seven pounds each (yes £27 EACH!!!) on a classic Singapore Sling. Luckily, it was really delicious and very strong, so worth it as a one-off. Sitting at the bar was also really fun and apparently it’s a thing there to crack open peanuts and just throw the shells on the floor. Random, but a fun thing to do in an evening!

Explore Changi airport

This may sound odd, but when you search for things to do in Singapore, one of the top suggestions is to spend a few hours in Changi airport! There’s a waterfall, canopy park, art installations, and even a beautiful garden to enjoy looking around before catching your flight. We didn’t get to have a look around when we arrived and we left via bus so this one will have to wait until next time.

Credit: Pia Ong, P Designs

Go to the top of Marina Bay Sands for a cocktail and epic view

Another activity we didn’t have time for this visit was a trip to the top of Marina Bay Sands. It’s something I’d like to save for a full afternoon on our next visit, and maybe save up to eat dinner there too. You can visit the SkyPark Observation Deck for $26 (approx. £15), enjoy a drink at the SkyBar, or dine at Ce La Vi with jaw-dropping views of the city.

Credit: The Blonde Abroad

Walk along Sentosa Boardwalk and enjoy a day on Sentosa Island

Finally, one of the top recommendations for Singapore is to spend a day on Sentosa Island. We didn’t have a spare day so we’ll be prioritising this next time, as there is a wide range of activities to enjoy on the island. Get the MRT to Harbourfront on the Circle or North East Line and walk across the impressive boardwalk onto the island. Here, you can enjoy gorgeous beaches, golfing, go karting, nature trails, and even Universal Studios! This area is bound to be a bit heavier on the wallet, so it’s worth checking out online which activities you want to do beforehand and buy tickets on Klook, where you’ll find some great discounts.

Credit: Leung Cho Pan

It’s safe to say there are so many great things to see and do in Singapore! We’re already planning a trip back there one day so that we can explore a different part of the city (maybe stay on Sentosa Island!) and find more fun activities and, most importantly, more amazing food spots.

What would you add to this list?

Follow the journey over on Instagram at @wheresliv_


The not-so-secret secret is out!

After one failed attempt at emigrating in January 2020 and 2.5 years of living in our first little flat together, Joe and I are finally making the move to ASIA in 6 weeks’ time!!

Whilst holidaying with the family in France in July we decided it was now or never. It was amazing being abroad enjoying the food, the sunshine and exploring new places. We realised this is the life for us, chasing the sun and seeing more of the world. So when we got home in early August, we booked a one way flight to Singapore.

Since then, we’ve been going through all the necessary preparations, from applying for new passports to getting travel vaccinations to selling all of our belongings. We’re not totally stressed by the situation (yet) but it is definitely creeping up on us and I’m keen to get everything wrapped up before the end of October when we will need to move out of our flat!

The main item on my agenda is seeing as many friends and family as possible. I was definitely naive when we first booked our flight, thinking we had loads of time to prepare and say goodbye to everyone, but in reality there are so many people we won’t be seeing for a long time. I’m managing to squeeze in a quick visit to my parents’ in France (literally 10 days before we fly to Singapore) so I’m looking forward to that too.

Work-wise, Joe will be quitting his jobs at the butchers and the pub where he has been putting in a daft number of hours this year and will finally be putting his Master’s degree to good use in the online finance world.

Meanwhile, my boss and colleagues have been incredibly supportive of this huge move and are happy for me to continue my role on a part-time basis while living in Asia, despite the time difference. We’ve spent the past few weeks working out the best way forward for both me and the business and I’m so grateful that I’ll be able to continue the job I love and earn a steady income while exploring the world.

Keep an eye out for more updates on here and on my Facebook and Instagram over the coming weeks and months!

First Time Skiing in the French Alps!

In March this year I took one of the best trips EVER: a ski trip to the French Alps with a group of my best friends!

It feels strange to be reminiscing on this trip while it’s the end of summer, but there’s a part of me that misses being bundled up against the cold, making snow angels and face planting the snow on the daily.

This trip not just my first time skiing, it was actually my first holiday with a group of friends – if you don’t count the backpacking I did a few years ago, where I made friends along the way. This trip just felt different; all of us going to Chill Factore in Manchester in the weeks and months leading up to it, planning via Zoom calls, and flying together as a big group. It was pure, wholesome fun.

We were actually supposed to go in the first week of January, but that was cancelled due to the *spicy cough* and France basically wouldn’t let Brits in. Sad times, but also good because I ended up catching said *spicy cough* on New Year’s Eve! So we rescheduled for March and the excitement was renewed. 

Unfortunately, our nice chalet was no longer available, so we made do with a very (VERY) basic dorm-style accommodation. We went on a budget and let’s just say the accommodation ticked that box. It was pretty awful but it kind of added to the fun and ultimately made it all the more memorable. Safe to say for the next group ski trip we will all be more willing to up the budget a bit for added comfort!

We flew from London Gatwick to Grenoble and were promptly picked up by our coach transfer to take us to Alpes d’Huez. I was so excited to visit Huez as I had apparently been before in summer when I was little, but I don’t remember it at all! Having grown up watching the Tour de France, the zigzag road leading up the mountain is iconic, and heading up there in a huge coach, precariously driving along the mountain edge, was an exhilarating experience to say the least.

Now, I have nothing else to compare it to, but Alpes d’Huez was a fantastic location as a first-time skier. I really was level one basic – happy to admit I was the worst out of our group – but found there were plenty of runs and, besides feeling a bit daunted by it all when we first arrived, it was really easy to navigate and I felt safe at all times.

The shop where we hired our gear was really easy to find, affordable, and they were super helpful, letting us store our skis and snowboards there every day and even keeping our shoes safe while we were out skiing. It was also right next to a little supermarket, a restaurant and a bar, so great location to meet back up before and after each ski day. It was called Rocky Sports, so definitely check them out if you’re planning a ski trip to Alpes d’Huez.

Each day we skied for around 6 hours, which is A LOT when you’ve never skied before. By the end of day one my bum and legs were numb from the cold and I felt like I’d been doing an intense squat sesh the entire day.

We started off skiing as a group but soon split off into groups, usually the beginners and the more advanced who had skied before. So day one was beginner slope, a mild green run, getting used to others flying past, and navigating the various chairlifts (I had a soggy piste map in my pocket at all times). I was nervous about using those but they were so fun, I could’ve gone round and round for hours just watching the pros do their thing on the slopes with the stunning mountain backdrops behind.

By the end of the trip, I was pretty confident on the greens (except one run, Chez Roger, which made me very very angry due to its icy bumpy hellishness) and was gaining confidence on the blues. Until of course we went on the hardest blue run ever on our final day and I ticked two things off the skiing bucket list which I wasn’t aiming for: 1) sit down and cry out of pure fear of the mountain edge, and 2) getting stuck in snow drifts and resorting to taking off my skis and bum sliding down the rest of the way. I’m convinced this was a black run and everyone was just lying to me.

One day some of the team actually did do a black run, the longest in the Alps, called La Sarenne. It starts at the top of Pic Blanc at 3330m – the highest peak in the Alpes d’Huez Grand Domaine. This involved taking a few chairlifts and cable cars up to the summit of the peak, where we marvelled at the surrounding views of the Alps and saw the mighty Mont Blanc in the distance, before bidding our pals a fond farewell and hoping we would see them a few hours and 16km later, unscathed. Aside from some face planting and accidental backwards skiing, they were fine. We reunited later that day and shared joyous stories of our separate snowsports adventures.

Every evening we either ventured out for food and drinks or stayed and cooked at our accommodation. There were some great restaurants around town where we carb-loaded on pizza, pasta, fajitas and nachos – just be prepared to drop 30 euros plus on a margarita pizza and a pint of coke. 

We also had a nightly ritual of giving out ‘awards’ every day for best ski moment, most improved, best fall, snow sporter of the day, whiny b*tch, and worst ski moment. I’m proud to say I won overall whiny b*tch (for my tantrums on Chez Roger and the dreaded blue run) by the end of the holiday, a title I hope to retain for years to come.

I think it’s safe to say that I am not a natural skier. But that’s OK because it was the most fun I’ve ever had with my friends! Core memories were unlocked and it was a fantastic experience learning a new skill together.

A few shoutouts to round off this blog post

Thank you to Hannah for planning literally everything and Louis for the assist (even though you got my name completely wrong on my boarding pass and feared I wouldn’t be allowed on the plane). Huge credit to Jenko who lost his phone on the slopes AND had his snowboard stolen on the same day and somehow got them back without panicking (too much). Jacob and Amber, thank you for giving me pep talks and cuddles when I was really struggling. Jim and James you guys are snow sporting legends and I could watch you ski/board all day long while I sit on my ass in the snow. Tegan you showed us all how calm and collected you are and you stuck with me throughout! And huge thank you to Benson for being the most patient ski teacher ever and making me feel better by falling over just as much as me. 🙂

PS. Jenko made a vlog of the whole ski trip if you want to check it out, click here!