asia travel

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?

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

Hiking Prep | OrganicIsBeautiful

Indonesia, 4 days to Reach the Top of the World, The Mount Rinjani !

The Mount Rinjani  located in Indonesia, is the second highest volcano in the country. With beautiful views from the summit, it is no wonder than people make the four-day trip to the top!

mount Rinjani

4 days to reach the top of the word, the mount Rinjani IndonesiaOf course, it isn’t just about the views once you get there, it is about the experience as you travel up there and, believe us, you are going to be in for a real treat! Since I lived 2 years in Kuala Lumpur, it was a short flight trip of 2 hours to lend in Lombok. 

This is an active volcano. While it is not as active as it was in the early 1990s, activity has started to ramp up in the past few years. As a result, many of the routes up the mountain are currently closed. However, if you work with a good guide, then you should have absolutely no issues traversing the area.

As with most active volcanoes, the landscape as you climb up is heavily forested and fertile. Well, at least during the lower and mid-levels of the volcano. As you start to climb the mountain, you will see that the area becomes more barren and volcanic rock peppers the landscape. It is actually a very gorgeous sight.mount Rinjani!

Hiking Prep | OrganicIsBeautiful

Along the way, you will plenty of birds taking to the skies. The main ones are cockatoos and green hanging parrots. However, it is worth noting that this isn’t the place to head if you are keen on bird spotting. As mentioned previously, the area is heavily forested which means that seeing anything is going to be notoriously difficult! The main animal to spot is the Bali Temple Monkey which can be seen up and down the slope, right the way up until you get the crater. However, if you are lucky, you may see the rare Ebony Leaf Monkey in the forest. If you do not see it, then you will certainly here it. It makes a distinctive ‘hooting’ sound which is strangely relaxing.

While the climb is on the easy side in comparison to the hike up over mountains, you are going to need to be physically fit in order to reach the top. The majority of tours that you can book that will take you up the mountain (it is not recommended that you travel alone) will take 3-4 days. They will take it at a slower pace to ensure that everybody can keep up. However, if you are not in good physical condition, then this may not necessarily be the right climb for you.mount Rinjani

You should make the climb up the mountain between April and November. During the rainy months, the trails will be closed which makes climbing impossible. It is close to freezing at the top of the mountain, so make sure you bring some cold weather clothing!

Hiking Prep | OrganicIsBeautiful
Hiking Prep | OrganicIsBeautiful

So, what can you see when you get to the top? Well, on a particularly clear day you will be able to see Bali to the west of the mountain and Sumbawa to the east. Honestly, the views that you are going to get over Indonesia will be more than worth it. If you can, get up here at sunrise and look at the crater lake. It is one of the most breath-taking views that you will ever enjoy in your life.

Would you be willing to climb up this mountain over the course of four days for those brilliant views?

Tour story in Kuala Lumpur, the Wicked City

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Lime, Lemon & Lemongrass

Lemon, Morning shake

We all know lemons (scientifically known as Citrus limon) as the fruit that evokes images of sunshine,  and sweet homemade lemonade stands.

Old school - Lemonade stand (Image Credit: blog krrg)
Old school – Lemonade stand (Image Credit: blog krrg)

It’s been 6 months now that I have incorporated lemon into my morning routine.

Lemons in your a.m. routine.
Lemons in your a.m. routine.

I am pleased to report I am thoroughly converted, and here is why. On the way, I got to gain more energy for longer days and I am quicker to smile in the a.m. !

Packed with antioxidants and other health benefits, a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon revitalizes the body and mind. I always make sure to drink a few glasses of water in the morning, but a few days a week (usually before heading to work), I add some fresh lemon juice for the taste and Vitamin C.

What I do?

I simply squeeze half of organic fresh lemon into a glass of lukewarm water (avoid using bottled lemon juice) and, optionally, when I feel like it, I would add some honey to make my drink a little bit sweeter.

 Drink this warm lemon water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else.

Why you will love it too?

Lemons by themselves are very versatile tools, a good option for cleaning, beauty, cooking and much more.

Not only do they smell and taste great, but they have natural antibacterial properties making them perfect for killing germs. Lemons are extremely rich in nutrients: they contain a lot of vitamins (vitamin C, B-complex vitamins) and a few key minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium). Lemons even contain more potassium than grapes or apples.

Consume lemons daily to boost up you metabolism. Like any other foods, moderation apply to get the best of it!

What about the peels?

Citrus peels are antibacterial and antimicrobial, making them incredible for homemade cleaners. Lemon peels contain about 5 to 10 times more vitamins than lemon juice!

TIPS: Dried peels make a nice addition to your basic cup of black tea!

What if you do not have lemon at home?

Lime = excellent substitute

Cut lime on wooden plate (Photo credit: Getty images).
Cut lime on wooden plate (Photo credit: Getty images).

As good of lemons

The first fruit that comes to mind in terms of medicinal uses is the reliable lime. They can be used in basically the same manner as lemons. Limes are green, small, and generally more acidic than lemons.

Not just good for cocktails

Limes are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Basically, vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals it comes in contact with. The fruit is less in calories, carrying just 20 calories per 100 g, the value being one of the lowest for the citrus fruits group.

High in Vitamins C !

Vital to the function of a strong immune system, a little extra vitamin C gotten from lime may be useful in conditions like colds, flu, and recurrent ear infections. Further, they carry a healthy amount of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

Limes & lemons (Image credit: Gourmet Sleuth)
Limes & lemons (Image credit: Gourmet Sleuth)

Lemongrass, Body balance

As the name implies, lemongrass smells just like lemons, but it is milder, sweeter, and far less sour.

The genus has about 55 species, most of which are native to South Asia, South­east Asia and Austra­lia. In India it is known as ‘choomana poolu’ and is also referred to as ‘Indian Verbena’ or ‘Indian Melissa oil’ and used in Ayurveda medicine to help bring down fevers and treat infectious illnesses.

Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful

The East Indian Lemongrass (Citronelle des Indes) is the most commonly available in small local markets. Multi purpose lemongrass, it is used for cooking as well as a base for essential oil.

It is known that lemongrass  grows best in warm, humid climates: areas with 24-. 30” of rainfall per year, lemongrass planted during the rainy season, and is ready for cutting about six to eight months afterwards.

Citronella plantation in India (Image credit: Nedfi)
Citronella plantation in India (Image credit: Nedfi)

Food lover? You will love it!

Lemongrass is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, and is gaining more and more popularity as a culinary herb in USA as well. Here in Malaysia it is widely used to add flavor or marinate chicken or pork dishes. It is absolutely delicious! I love it, I usually find it in Tom Yum soup along with galangal, lime leaves and fish sauce.

TIPS: Storing lemon grass by freezing is the best way to preserve its garden fresh flavor, it can be preserved from six months up to one year!
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful

I ♥ Lemongrass Essential oil

I usually take with me essential oil extracted from lemongrass when I am off traveling in tropical areas, I use it as an excellent natural mosquito repellent. The oil is also used for making other non-food related products like candles, perfumes, soap, insecticide, disinfectant, household cleaner and deodorant.

What about you? How do you use limes, lemon or lemongrass to complement your daily routine?OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

Lemongrass

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