TRAVELS

Traveling is one of my greatest passions. I'm constantly fascinated with cultures, history, cuisines and traditions from around the globe. By traveling, I observe and understand how and why people behave in their own unique ways. I always learn something new in a foreign place. For examples, Peking Duck is always served in front of you and must be sliced into 120 pieces in China. Spaniards have late dinners (9pm) because they take siesta breaks in the afternoon. The clanking sounds you hear near the Swiss mountains are cowbells worn by freely roaming livestock. And it's always good to know some basic words of the local languages to navigate around the country. Even if they don't understand you, a smile and hand gestures help.

I research places to visit by reading from official tourist websites and up-to-date travel guide books such as Lonely Planet and Eyewitness Travel. I recently stumbled upon HSBC Country Guides and found it to be resourceful. When traveling, I like to equip myself with maps from local tourist centers, local currencies, a rough itinerary to guide my way, and knowledge of the nearest US or Malaysia Embassy.

For budgeting and paying overseas, I typically use my $0 foreign transaction fee Capital One credit cards. I don't have to worry about carrying tons of cash with me. However, having some cash is useful in less developed nations especially when eating out on roadside stalls or mom-and-pop stores. I plan ahead and take advantage of rewards offered by my credit cards. For example, Discover was offering 10% cashback when I booked hotel rooms with hotels.com through ShopDiscover.

For websites that allow different currencies as method of payment such as Air Asia, I use this Visa link to calculate the exchange rates and select the currency that gives the lowest equivalent US dollar for my purchases. It may appear like I'm saving pennies but they do add up especially when I make several large purchases. I also use this link to compare receipts with charges on my cards' statements for any fraud.

If you know of any good travel tips, don't hesitate to drop me a comment or two.

Below are some of the places I've visited and the food I discovered along the way. Please take some time and enjoy reading!

Useful links:

Retreat destinations in Malaysia

Panoramic photos from around the globe

12 most iconic rivers in the world

Australia and New Zealand:

Perth and Margaret River, Australia

Sydney and Blue Mountains, Australia

South Island, New Zealand

East Asia:

Brunei

Beijing, China

Japan

Kluang, Malaysia (talks about Kluang coffee!)

Malacca, Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

Miri, Malaysia

Sabah, Malaysia

Seremban, Malaysia

Tioman Island, Malaysia

Singapore

Bangkok and surroundings, Thailand

Middle East:

Jerusalem, Israel

Beyond Jerusalem, Israel

Amman, Aqaba, and Al Karak, Jordan

Jerash and Madaba, Jordan

Petra and Wadi Rum, Jordan

Bethlehem and Jericho, West Bank

Dubai, UAE

Central America:

Belize City, Belize

Costa Maya, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico

Roatan, Honduras

Europe:

Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria

Belgium

Prague, Czech Republic

England

South of France

Germany

Budapest, Hungary

Italy

Monaco

Netherlands

Bratislava, Slovakia

Spain

Switzerland

North America:

Grand Canyon, Page and Williams, AZ

Death Valley, CA

French Laundry and Napa Valley, CA

Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

San Diego, CA

Yosemite and Sequoia National Park, CA

Denver and Boulder, CO

Dark Sky, Westcliffe and Royal Gorge Bridge, CO

Washington, DC

Big Island, HI

Chicago, IL

Miami and the Keys, FL

New Orleans, LA

Maine

Boston, MA

St Louis, MO

Crater Lake National Park, OR

Portland, OR

Las Vegas, NV

Adirondacks, NY

Ithaca, NY

New York City, NY

Rochester, NY

Philadelphia, PA

Houston, TX

Bryce and Zion Canyons, UT

Seattle, WA

Montreal, Canada

Ottawa, Canada

Quebec City, Canada

Toronto, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

Puerto Rico

Others:

Norwegian Dawn Cruise