Travel

One Year in Shanghai

Shanghai by Night – Picture credit: Business Insider

I have lived a year in Shanghai and two in Kuala Lampur. From my experience, Shanghai is a by far the best of the Chinese cities for an expat like me to reside. Shanghai is the most populous city of China for no other reason. It is one of the fastest developing cities in the world.

Anything and everything is comparatively cheap here in Shanghai let alone the rent for an apartment. I lived in a fairly good but small apartment in an urban area of the city. Everybody here is in a rush. This makes most of them ill tempered. But I was lucky to have a cheery landlord who appears as though he haven’t heard English in his lifetime but never minded me coming home very late in the night or me keeping the apartment messy. Thanks to my real estate agent.

When it comes to the lifestyle of the people, it may seem quite strange to see many people in traditional dresses throughout the day. But that is the case of just people who are still living in the previous century or so. There is a very vibrant and dynamic population too in Shanghai who are up-to-date with the current happenings in fashion and lifestyle all around the world. You can see many people in the streets from various cultures and countries very much like us. So no expats will feel like stranded out in some other planet.

The pollution in the city is the main concern that is puzzling even the officials. It seems to be rising from day to day. The polluted atmosphere poses a threat to the skin. When it comes to skincare, I prefer natural and herbal ways. In a place this polluted, I give safety higher priority rather than beauty. Proper sunscreens or other facial creams are highly recommended. The streets of Shanghai is crowded with people from all over the world alike battling all such challenges.

This pollution has made much problem to the roadside food vendors too. Food from such shops may seem like an unwanted risk in our lives. But if you are into some great international food, there are places that do offer it. When you are planning to stay in Shanghai for a fairly long time, you will come to understand that cooking your own food is much healthier and cheaper. For a foreigner in Shanghai, it might take more than a month to fit into the new-found routine.

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Kuala-Lumpur-Malaysia organicisbeautiful

The night life in the city is one rather interesting. Even though the government seem to have certain pre-historic kind of rules and beliefs, the city has got a really active night life. The traffic in Shanghai is nightmare during the rush hours like any other prominent cities. But the city has a well-established and reliable metro and subway system. The metro rails of Shanghai is one of the longest in the world. You can buy almost all items for a fairly minimum price in Shanghai.

There are markets that sell almost anything under the sky. When it comes to fish and meat market, you might see even the most unexpected ones from insects and snakes to even crocodiles! The exact cultural background and beliefs of China is a bit strange and indigestible for expats. But it is quite a relief to see such a large and busy city being friendly to foreigners and immigrants from all over the world.

So, the final verdict is yours to take. Do you believe Shanghai deserves your acquaintance?

The Rival Cities: Sydney vs. Melbourne

In this corner, we have Sydney, Australia, where the beaches and sunshine attract those looking for relaxing luxuries. Over in the other corner is Melbourne, the eccentric, artistic hub of Australia. When the two cities start competing your travel time, do you know which one would appeal to your senses more?

I have put together a comparison of Sydney and Melbourne for you to make the correct choice. Though, anywhere you go in Australia would be an awesome vacation, that much is certain.

Sightseeing
Sydney’s Finest:
The Beaches: Coogee, Bondi, Manly, Cronulla, Bronte, Tamarama, and Maroubra are just a few of those easily accessible from Sydney’s center. Others are within 30 minutes by ferry. Tourist Attractions: Sydney Harbor, Darling Harbor (and everything offered there), Sydney Opera House and Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Murugan Hindu Temple, the Vat Khemarangsaram Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Bonnyrigg, and the Mingyue Lay Buddhist Temple in Bonnyrigg, The Rocks Historic Area, Sydney Tower and Skywalk. Green Space: The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Park, Putney Park, Wetherhill Park, and the Sydney Botanical Gardens (at the back of the NSW Conservatorium of Music), Chinese Garden of Friendship, and Hyde Park.

When you think about attractions, the Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens probably come to mind. Or, you find yourself daydreaming about lounging on Manly Beach, a haven for backpackers. In short, everything you want to see in Australia is probably located in Sydney. From magical scenery to picturesque
beaches, there is something to be found no matter where you go.

 

Melbourne’s Finest:
The Beaches: None – but you do have a Yarra River cruise. Tourist Attractions: The Shrine of Remembrance, The Block Arcade, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Federation Square, Eureka Tower and Skydeck, Captain Cook’s Cottage Green Space: Port Campbell National Park, Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, Yarra Valley (Wine Country).

Compared to Sydney, Melbourne pales in comparison with things- to-do. That said, if you are not looking for an overabundance of tourist attractions, the quaint sights around Melbourne may please you more. Melbourne is more about sports and slightly more historical venues.

Education & Entertainment You may have noticed that I skipped museums and other entertainment sites in the “sightseeing” list. That is because, for the museum-goers and nightlife seekers, one city may trounce the other.

Sydney’s Finest:
● Sydney Opera House
● Rock’s Discovery Museum
● SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
● Australian National Maritime Museum
● George Street – where you can find designer boutiques through Strand
Arcade and the Queen Victoria Building
● Taronga Zoo
● Sydney Fish Market

Melbourne’s Finest:
● Southbank Promenade – cafes, restaurants, live entertainment
● The Arts Centre – made up of the Playhouse, Fairfax Theatre, Hamer Hall, and the State Theatre
● National Gallery of Victoria – Australia’s oldest art gallery
● The Royal Arcade – Melbourne’s oldest shopping arcade, full of architecture and character
● The Block Arcade – Another place for fashionistas and architecture nuts.
● Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building
● Queen Victoria Market
● State Library Victoria

So, while Sydney wins with glitz and glitter, Melbourne wins in terms of culture. You see, Melbourne has an international influence that is reflected throughout the city. The live entertainment on street corners and in Jazz bars, the cafes, the performing arts, and the prevalent food culture is mesmerizing. If you love food and engaging nightlife, Melbourne wins, hands down.

Melbourne | organicisbeautiful.com
Melbourne | organicisbeautiful.com

How will you ever choose between Sydney and Melbourne? The answer is in what you are looking to do. For those seeking nature and touristy adventures, head to Sydney. Others seeking shopping, nightlife, and an artsy-vibe should go to Melbourne. Either way, you are in for an amazing time, so why not go to both?

Singapour OrganicIsBeautiful

Things I love about Singapore

Singapore is an hour trip from Kuala Lumpur, yet the country was never in my bucket list before. Not sure why since I learnt to love every bits of it across the years. Why? Read below:

Singapour OrganicIsBeautiful
Singapour OrganicIsBeautiful

Stop in Singapore | OrganicIsBeautifulEthnic quarters:

While exploring the city of Singapore, I encountered such quarters:

  1. Little India: From a distance, I could hear Hindi songs being played in a loudspeaker. I was astonished, thinking why was it played in a loudspeaker in Singapore. I walked towards the sound and suddenly the buildings, shops, streets, people and the overall aura of the place changed. I found myself in Little India. I saw shops selling brass jewelry and beautiful colorful sarees. I had delicious Indian cuisine which included roti, daal, crisp potatoes and chicken curry. I experienced India in this beautiful country.
  2. Chinatown: I was excited when I saw yet another country’s quarter in Singapore. I tried the Chinese cuisine. I had the delicious Tian Tian rice and oyster pancakes. I learnt kite making from a vendor there. I wore colorful masks too fully immersing myself in the culture. I also visited the Thiang Hock Keng temple. I loved the intricate designs, elaborately painted doors and the typical Chinese style structure. It felt as if I was transported to China.

Night Safari:

This is one of the most exciting things to do in Singapore. The Night Safari was a special experience for me because this was the first time I was exploring the zoo at night and that too in a tram. I saw quite a few animals such as lions, tigers, hippos etc. The darkness of the night makes it a thrilling and unique experience. One should must experience this especially with their family.

A mall in Singapour | OrganicIsBeautiful
A mall in Singapore | OrganicIsBeautiful

Camping in a deserted island:

This is the most thrilling and memorable experience in Singapore. It is not covered in most of the tourist’s itineraries. There is Kusu and St. John’s islands which are further afield and are accessible by ferry. I went to the St. John’s Island. I took my own food and water as there are no restaurants on the island. The beach of the island is mesmerising and fresh. I had sea bath and made barbeques. Then I spent the whole night star gazing on the beach. The night time had an enigmatic beauty. The twinkling stars adorned the night sky and the whole beach was glistening with silvery moonlight. I was there enjoying every moment to the fullest and adoring the elegance of the Singapore skyline visible from there.

Sentosa Island:

This island is rightly called the state of fun with a huge Merlion sitting on it. There are many thing which can be done there. Some of the best are:

  1. Underwater World: I step on the escalator and it takes me through a huge underground aquarium covering me from three sides having a large variety of sea fishes such as myriads of jellyfishes, rays, sharks and much more. I was astonished to see such a huge variety of fishes. The humongous aquarium had Open Ocean habitat, which made me feel if I am on the cavernous ocean floor!
  2. Songs of the Sea: This is my best experience on Sentosa Island. The world famous laser show happens on the sea side. A beautiful story is shown through laser lights on the water is truly awe inspiring and fun to watch. The dancing lights and the spraying water blend together to form a great entertainment for tourists.
  3. Beaches: Sentosa Islands also offers beautiful beaches.
    Tropical Beach | OrganicIsBeautiful
    Tropical Beach | OrganicIsBeautiful

     

  4. Tanjong beach: This is an ideal beach for people looking for tranquility and peace. It is the romantic beach. The tranquil atmosphere provides relaxation and is away from the hustle bustle of the city.
  5. Siloso Beach: When I went to this beach, it was polar opposite of the Tanjong beach. There is excitement all over the beach. I played volleyball here with random people and made some new friends. Amazing places to eat and bars can be found here. In the night, this beach is wide awake partying. I thoroughly enjoyed the night culture of this beach, thanks to the quality live music being played, good alcohol and wonderful food by the sea shore.

Nightlife:

Singapore has a vibrant and sophisticated nightlife. Some of the best are:

  1. 1-Altitude Gallery & Bar: This is the first thing that comes to my mind. The bar is on the 63rd floor and provides a beautiful view of the city. I found the place very sophisticated and the service was great. Food and booze are of top quality. After traveling for the whole day, I went there at 8 and even though it got late for me but I did not feel like leaving the place. I loved the ambience and one could just stare at the scintillating city forever.
  2. Zouk: I love dance music and Zouk turned out to be a heaven to me. This awarding-winning venue has been at the forefront of the club scene in the city for over two decades. The crowd here mainly consisted of the youngsters. I danced my way through the night having the time of my life. The feeling was ecstatic. It is a must go club for dance loving people.

The nightlife of Singapore has something in store for everyone. The night never gets boring here. Excitement levels touch the sky with electrifying bars, pubs and discos. The perfect blend of beaches, nightlife, entertainment, adventure and fun filled activities makes Singapore one of the most attractive countries in the world.

Thank you for stopping by,

Amanda

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Moringa Benefit | OrganicIsBeautiful

Gone Exploring My First Moringa Tree plantation…in Cambodia!

Moringa is one of the world’s most useful plants.

This fast-growing tree is grown throughout the tropics for human food, livestock forage, medicine, dye, and water purification.

It is known by several names in different countries, but is popularly called the “drumstick tree” for its pods that are used by drummers and the “horseradish tree” for the flavor of its roots.

Moringa Benefit | OrganicIsBeautiful
Moringa Benefit | OrganicIsBeautiful

Where it started: little India!

Living in Kuala Lumpur, I (re)discovered the diversity of the Indian cuisine. It’s a constant mix, an assortment of spices and herbs.

Shopping around in Little India one evening, I (literately speaking) bumped into my first Moringa seeds. I took a picture (see on the right): I did not know what it was at the time. Looking surprised, the staff assistant came to me and said, proudly:

“Moringa tree, oh very Good. Eat and brain & skin very strong!”.

I needed to learn more. Ready to get your feet dirty in a small plantation in the deep Cambodia land?

Read below;)

A family-owned organic Moringa tree in Cambodia.

In my earlier article, we explore the multiple benefits of the Moringa tree. Today, we head to a local  plantation to understand how Moringa trees can be produced in a natural and economical way.

Moringa seeds sold in little india KL.

I hope you will enjoy my post as much I enjoyed visiting and talking with the owner of the plantation you will discover below.

As mentioned, it was during my trip to Cambodia that I had the chance to travel around the country and meet local producers that specialized in chemical-free Moringa tree plantation. There are many different species of Moringa trees, the one I have uncovered is the Moringa Oleifera.

  • Trees are often spaced in a line one meter or less apart in order to create living fence posts
  • Moringa trees do not need much watering, which make them ideally suited for the climate of places such as SEA.
  • All the picture shown in this article represents Moringa Oleifera, the most widely cultivated specie.
  • Moringa is resistant to most pests.

In the first and third pictures, you can seed Moringa seeds. Those seeds are used to create Moringa oil. A pure Moringa oil, with no additive or preservatives, apply to your skin daily, or after a weekly exfoliation help the skin rejuvenate.

What makes Organicly produced Moringa trees better?

The answer: the compost! The botanicals used to produce Moringa trees are grown in soils that are free of chemicals. Chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers are actually prohibited and never used.

The major issue nowadays with so-called ‘organic’ composts available to farmers is that they add the composted contents of green waste from our household recycling centers.

The farmer I met produced his own compost from animal manure (mainly from the cow) and it takes approximately half a year of storage to become completely ready for fertilizer.

What are the benefits of using compost?

  • Increases organic matter in the soil.
  • Higher yields – studies show that you can improve maximum yield potential by increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil.
  • Inorganic fertilizer substitution – compost contains slow release, crop-available nutrients, including phosphate, potash, magnesium and sulfur.
  • Improves soil structure for better workability and better crop establishment
  • Better soil structure and water management – adding compost improves soil structure, which is good for crops (good water infiltration and retention) and also makes it easier to work, saving fuel and time.
  • Increases water infiltration and retention.

Are you into gardening? Then, Moringa trees is for you! I learnt that they are fast growers and can be havested while just 1.5-2meters tall. Moringa can grow in a diversity of environment, (South Carolina, Ethiopia, you named it!): it can grow in dry, poor or sandy soils.

How to harvest a Moringa tree? Simple. Cutting away half a meter form the tops and drying the the shade.

After the harvesting, the leaves are collected and sent to the wharehouse for cleaning and drying.

The Moringa leaves are then washed with water and salt and rinse at least twice. It is then left to dry 2 or 3 days before any further action.

In summary,

Moringa trees is widely available in SEA, production has been in the recent years industrialized, and in my quest for organic alternative, I noticed how challenging it was to visit a 100%organic farm. Yet, they still exist 😉

Once cleaned, dried and packaged, Moringa trees offers a variety of benefits. Women can used it to improve their skin strength, keeping a nice and natural glow in their face.

The seeds, once pulverized are sold as powder supplement, multivitamin drink for athletes. It is said to be helpful within a balanced diet.

I hope you enjoyed my post, first article in my serie “Miracle trees“. If you want to hear more about the others miracle trees that I will explore,  feel free to add your email address to my subscription box!  I will keep you posted 😉

Reference.

Thank you

Amanda 😉

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Street food | OrganicIsBeautiful

Tour Story in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the Wicked City

Did you know that I lived 2 years in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Melbourne in 2016? I love every bits of it, food, people, sightseeing. This article is a quick screenshot of what you are missing!

Kuala Lumpur, the Wicked City
Kuala Lumpur, the Wicked City

My Kuala Lumpur tour has been long late as I planned it earlier this year to visit my friends there. But, never mind. The tropical city is one such place where you can travel all-round the year. It stands 7th amongst the top 10 magnificent cities of the world. And, if you are a foodie, you gonna love KL. The place is a foodie heaven, as you have ample of cafes, restaurants, eateries and street dining all around.

Dining

Get prepared to enjoy Durian. The food taste much better than it smells. Though it is forbidden in planes, hotels and taxis, but for all you Durian lovers, it is customary to enjoy a Durian Dinner. And, I personally love to enjoy this as my supper! The famous tropical fruit is just amazing.

Street food | OrganicIsBeautiful
Street food | OrganicIsBeautiful

Small dried fish curries when prepared with Nasi Lemak carry a yummy taste. I have tried this sumptuous national dish and I warmly recommend it for all. 

You cannot ignore the street food of Kuala Lumpur.

 Do not be scared to taste it. It is warm and there are no chances for you to get sick. The same goes for beverages. I have enjoyed it several times and never had an upset stomach. You certainly don’t have to compromise with your health.

Basically, in Kuala Lumpur, you say hello to spice in food 😉

Rice with Sambal | OrganicIsBeautiful
Rice with Sambal | OrganicIsBeautiful

Just like the food of KL, the etiquettes and local habits of this nature friendly city are amazing. Regardless of the openness to the global influence and urbanity of the city, KL is still conservative. Chiefly, any behavior which attracts attention to the people concerned is generally avoided.

OH yes, exposure is a big no-no. You cannot show off your flesh in the public. The dress code os quite conservative and you’re bound to follow the standards. Even at places like beach and while pursuing sports, there are minimum standards to be compiled with. And, yes, when I entered my friend’s house, I had to remove my footwear. Your body language counts a lot. Yes, while greeting someone, you got to use both your hands. And another thing, you cannot touch someone’s head.

The public display of affection is a big no-no! Holding hands is fine, but you kissing are literally prohibited in the public!

But, how can you ignore the beauty of the nature’s paradise. The places of attraction of KL are simply stunning. The major iconic attractions of the city which define its tourism are Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Caves and Colossal Buddha. Right from the organic Lake Gardens to i-City Shah Alam, you’ve places which are mesmerizing and eye-dazzling.

Petronas Twin Towers

Designed in 1998, the towers stand at 452m high. The design and look of the tower is inspired by Islamic art and architecture with a contemporary viewpoint, replicated by glass and steel façade.

Kuala Lumpur Wildlife | OrganicIsBeautiful
Kuala Lumpur Wildlife | OrganicIsBeautiful

Batu Caves

One of the best attractions of KL, this limestone hill comprises of three major caves and some smaller ones too. They are beautiful and exotic.

Menara KL Tower

The most known and famous landmark of KL, Menara KL Tower was made in 1994. This shimmering tower spindle apex is seen from almost all places of Kuala Lumpur.

Oh, alright… I personally had a great trip to the city and would love to recommend this tourist destination for all nature lovers.

Have you visit Brunei?

Lots of Love,

Amanda ;)OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

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