Monthly Archives: November 2016

 

When you think of exploring Malaysia. Mount Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur may be the first destinations that spring to mind.

One of the lesser known hotspots is Johor Bahru.  Fantastic for shopping, dining and as well as being home to Legoland Malaysia,  Johor has something for every intrepid explorer.

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Like most parts of west Malaysia, the climate is generally hot and humid with a mean temperature ranging from 27-30 degrees. Wet during the inter monsoon periods from April to October, during the rest of the year Johor is usually dry with occasional showers.

Accommodation is varied in style and expense but staying near the heart of the action isn’t difficult and there are many a budget hotel nearby Legoland Johor Bahru, The first 1st International Park in Malaysia, it opened in 2012.  Like its worldwide counterparts you are guaranteed a fun, if pricey, day out.

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An alternate is Danga Bay, the largest recreational park in Johor and location of choice during the festive season. Easily accessible through the network of main roads makes this place a frequently visited spot by the locals and tourists alike.

If the feel of the sands between your toes is calling the 22km long Pulai Desaru Beach is beautiful. Offering up a jaw-dropping view of the South China Sea with tropical rainforest backdrop. Sibu Islands also offer sun and fun with various activities including fishing trips and jungle trekking.

Shopping is a must in Johor with several malls on the have-to visit list. City Square Johor Bahru, Aeon Tebrau City, Holiday Plaza and Plaza Pelangi all offer various brands at affordable prices. Grab a bargain at  the Johor Premium Outlet, a haven for the designer brand buff.. Packed out a weekends it’s important to get there early.

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Food in  Johor s incredible with an enticing array of seafood that offers the fruits de la mer as fresh as they could be. The Grand Straits Garden Seafood Restaurant is one of the most reputable Chinese restaurants in Johor. The variety of seafood on offer here is amazing. If you can deal with Live seafood tanks offering you the option of choosing your dish from tank to tummy then it’s the restaurant of choice for the freshest seafood around. Dining costs a little more but it’s well worth it.

Locals also frequent the Ark Restaurant, an all-you-can-eat steamboat eatery. This place allows you to try a variety of foods for a set price, and a reasonable one at that. If you long for a taste of home, the place to go is the George & Dragon café. Hailing the best best steaks in town and the desserts are none too shabby either. You will always to pay more for Western food so try to be a little adventurous.

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Getting around is limited on public transport to buses and taxis, which can work out quite pricey so best to hire a car in order to get to all of the place of interest on offer.

So consider Johor and marvel at this jewel in Malaysia’s crown.

If you are looking for a fun-filled and seasonal break this winter, why not treat yourself to a long weekend in beautiful Vancouver? Vancouver is a city of contrasts, where the wilderness is never far away, even if you are in the heart of the urban sprawl. So sit back and relax and read on to find out what you can do for a 48-hour stay.

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Trip Preparation

 

As you are traveling under such a short time constraint, it’s best to do a little preparation before the weekend you travel. This should include checking that your passport and documents are present and correct. Some travelers will need and eTA to gain access into Canada. To see if this applies to you, you can find out more, by clicking the link.

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It is also worthwhile checking out what season activities are available such as ice skating or skiing. You will want to plan your time well, so you get to experience everything in the city that you want to do. Luckily below you ‘ll find a guide to the things you won’t want to miss.

 

Exploring The Wilderness

 

First of all, you will be able to get out and enjoy the mountain ranges. This is perfect if you are into walking or running. There are also organized tours and trails that you can make use of like the Tofino Plane Crash Hike. This is where you get to go on a stunning and challenging walk to the site of a downed plane.

 

It is important that you are aware of the safety information when you are in the countryside. This is because the weather can get pretty extreme during the winter. If the snow is coming down and you still want to get out and about to explore the surrounding areas, then it might be best to do it by dog sledge or snow cat.

 

There is also the opportunity to go caving or climbing depending on the weather conditions. Of course, it’s is always recommended that you pick a professional company that offers these experiences. That will ensure that they know the terrain well, and are up to date on any safety concerns.

 

Do you want to escape all the hustle and bustle of modern society by staying out in the wilderness? But so you need little more style that a traditional tent and bucket situation? Then try out a site that offers glamping.

 

If you choose to glamp, you can spend the night in a hidden tree house at Shuswap Lake. They come complete with your own wood burning stove to keep warm, a rocking chair and a draped bed. Who said when camping you have to rough it?

 

Nightlight

 

As a big and bustling city, there is plenty to do in Vancouver once the sun goes down. You could try your luck on the roulette tables at the casino or dance the night away in one of the many clubs like Caprice or The Roxy.

 

Then there are some more cultural things to do. Check out the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. They play in sites across the city such as the Anvil Centre, Michael J. Fox Theatre: and St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church. Or, you can catch one of the many dramatic performances like Christmas presence at the Pacific Theatre. Or the Christmas Carol at Capilano University.

 

If you are looking for a more traditional night out with drinks and dancing, then Granville Street is a good location to try out. Craft beer joints and pubs can be found here. But be warned it is often full of students that get a little rowdy after one too many beers

 

If you are looking for a more classy socialite focused hangout, then why not try Yaletown instead. There you will find the well-dressed elite sipping on cocktails after a hard days work. Quieter but more refined than Granville street you can spoil yourself with a little luxury while still having a great time.

 

Food

 

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Of course, no winter weekend in Vancouver would be complete without sampling some of the delicious local cuisines. As it is a coastal city, Vancouver is well known for its high-quality seafood.

 

One of the best places to try the bounty of the sea is at the Blue Water Cafe. It has an interior like a French bistro with black and white tiles, low-level lighting and crisp white tablecloths. So, you may be surprised to discover that it serves sushi as well as traditional seafood dishes. But when the fish is sourced from your doorstep, why not.

 

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There is also the five sale restaurant, which is located right on the harbor. It’s easily spotted as it actually does have five canvas sails affixed to the roof. Well known in Vancouver for its seafood, it has a more a la carte vibe. Choose from lobster bisque, caviar, carpaccios or even oysters if you are feeling really luxe. Of course, there are delicious stress and desserts for those who don’t want to indulge in the fruits of the sea.

 

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Also if you find yourself by the harbor in the day, you can always pick up some delicious deep fried fish and chips from the food shack Go fish. OK, so it’s not so much at the high end of things, but it’s fresh, crisp and delicious. So it makes the perfect lunch on the go.

 

City Activities

 

If the cold weather is too much for you and you’d rather stay in the city and check out the things to do there, then you are in luck. That is because there is plenty that you can fill your days with in Vancouver.

 

How about exploring nature in a more civilized way by visiting the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. There you will find a rose garden in the English Tradition. You will also be able to explore the maze and other botanical delights.

 

If you have a credit card that is just burning a hole in your pocket, then you might want to head over to Robson Street. There you will find all the big name and luxury stores, so you can shop your heart’s desire. Or why not head over to SoMa or South Main to the non-locals, there you will find some quirky antique shops and stylish Canadian boutiques.

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