September 2011 Newsletter
Friday, 2nd September, 2011
I have only just got back from two wonderful shopping trips, the first to KL and the second to Bangkok and I am madly running around getting organised for a holiday with my special man.
The trip to Kuala Lumpa went really well and we all enjoyed ourselves.
From having our feet pampered by the local fish to learning to cook Malaysian style to shopping up a storm it was a fun filled week.
You can see from the look on my face that the fish were not my favourite but I know that many love this type of pedicure. (Cheryl I will send a photo to insert here)
The cooking class at LaZat Malaysian Home Cooking School was lots of fun.
Malaysian food is a fascinating blend of cuisine, a fusion of diverse cultures, predominantly Malay, Chinese, Indian and Baba. We watched as our teachers, local woman with a flair for cooking, showed us how to cook each dish before we then tried these ourselves. We then all gathered around the table and eat the food we had prepared and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.
(Will send a photo for here)
The classes are hands on, held Tuesdays to Saturdays in the mornings and presented in English in an entertaining manner by Malaysian ladies who have lived overseas. The location is a contemporary Malaysian home in a suburb, approx. 25 minutes from Kuala Lumpur city centre; they will arrange transfer for a small fee.
We also had a lovely evening at Annabel McKenzie’s home which looks out on KL and the lights twinkled at us as we had a great time trying on the various clothes she has imported from India. She had gathered some other local ladies and we loved the bags made by Francis. Lee from Lee’s Beads could not be there but Annabel had some of her products and also Kerry Grant who makes the bags I love.
If anybody is travelling in a group to Kl do get in touch with Annabel and she will arrange to show you her wares, well worth the effort.
One day we had lunch at Peter Hoe’s this lovely shop has plenty to keep you shopping but also a lovely little restaurant selling lovely salads and light lunches. We shopped the markets found a gem of a bag shop and shopped in both upmarket malls and markets stalls.
I will tell you more about Bangkok and what we found there next month.
Congratulations to Valerine with a Yahoo email address who is the winner of two nights at the Rembrandt Hotel in Bangkok. We stayed there on our shopping trip to Bangkok and it really is the ideal location for shopping and just relaxing. We will be in touch with you Valerine and let you know how to claim your prize.
(Cheryl can we put some photos of the hotel or something here)
On a sad note I was really sorry to read that the famous Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill closing down
The Travel Bookshop, made famous in the film Notting Hill as Hugh Grant’s place of work, is closing down after 32 years. The bookshop has been a landmark for both tourists and locals. A group of poets and writers are volunteering to work for free if a buyer can be found for shop. It is sad that in this modern age many of the final old shops can no longer complete so don’t forget to support your local shops so that they are not forced to close down.
Dates for your diary of you are travelling to Hong Kong the National Day Race Day (horse racing) is on the 1 October 2011 at Sha Tin Racecourse
The National Day Race Day has long been one of the highlights of Hong Kong’s racing calendar. Every year, the Hong Kong Jockey Club stages the National Day Cup, along with a range of cultural performances at Sha Tin racecourse, to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The event attracts thousands of visitors from diehard racing fans to the uninitiated.
Also later on the same day the 2011 National Day Fireworks Display starts at 9pm and continues for approximately 23 minutes). Grab a vantage point along Victoria Harbour and join the huge crowds heading to Victoria Harbour to celebrate the People’s Republic of China’s 62nd birthday with a glittering harbour fireworks display.
(Cheryl you may find a picture on the Hong Kong tourist website)
Many of you write and ask about medical procedure in Thailand so for more information check out the article on medical care in Thailand article by Richard DeAndrea MD, ND at http://www.tatnews.org/emagazine/5588.asp
Finances on holiday
• Debit and credit cards can be used at ATM around the world but check your card provider to ensure you can use your card in the country you are visiting, also check your banks charges and be aware that there can also be a local bank charge.
• Traveller’s cheques are a safe substitute for cash; if they are lost or stolen they can be replaced easily. Usually they can be exchanged for local currency at banks, hotels or some shops. Remember there could be a charge for exchanging traveller’s cheques. Record the cheque numbers and kept in a separate area from the cheques
• Check with your bank or foreign exchange bureau if there is a discount on fees for ordering currency on line or in advance, if you order with Travelex online and collect at one of their branches there is no commission charged
• Have a small coin purse to separate your home currency from your foreign currency, you can then simply return to your wallet on your way home. This way you won’t be trying to buy the paper on your return with foreign coins. Also handy if you are visiting several countries
• If there is a few of you travelling together have a separate wallet or purse with a kitty to pay for taxis, coffees or small items that you share together.
• If there is a big group consider one of the debit cards that you can put money on before you leave and use this to pay for accommodation, meals and transport you are sharing
• Check up on tipping in the country you are visiting, is it considered correct to tip in many countries. Work on a $1 per bag for porterage, at restaurants check to see if service fee has been added if not tip. Always tip if you feel you have been offered extra service.
• Keep exchange slips as these may be required if you want to exchange money back into your home currency
• If visiting Vietnam do not take local currency out of the country as you will be unable to exchange it. Coins from any country cannot be exchanged, drop them in the charity box at the airport or on board the plane.
• Always have a backup credit/debit card you can access in case of emergency
• Don’t have any credit card purchases made in your own currency, I have found that this is never as good an exchange rate as allowing your bank to do it, you are at the mercy of the shop keeper or their bank if your ask for it to be exchanged when you purchase
• Have a print out of exchange rates that you can easily consult when you are buying, there is one in the back of each Hot Spots to Shop book.
Website of the month
Have loads of good travel medical advice and also a good newsletter for those of you that travel regularly