The Kuala Lumpur City Guide

Kuala Lumpur is not only the capital of Malaysia, it’ a melting pot of culture with a vibrant mix of Malay, Indian, Thai and Chinese people. Planning a visit to Malaysia, a stopover or just curious about what this metropolitan has to offer? This is the guide you need!

If you have a few days in Kuala Lumpur, there are n From Shopping, history, culture, nature, to of course food, its all here. Keep one thing in mind, locals love to eat, so you will see everybody eating all day. From street food to fancy restaurants, in KL you don’t have to worry about food. All is fresh and very tasty!

Where to stay

Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
We stayed here when we arrived and can really recommend it. Why? This hotel has rooms starting from 85 Euro, so it’s affordable for everyone. It’s located at a very convenient spot if you arrive at the international airport. The main train station KL Sentral is located only a few minutes walk away and the train takes about 28 minutes from the airport. There is a rooftop pool, a gym, 2 restaurants, and the staff is really lovely. The dinner and breakfast buffet is outstanding. A great place to start from. Wanna do some shopping? Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral is connected to the Nu Sentral Shopping Centre via an air-conditioned link bridge. Book your stay here.

Aloft Kuala Lumpur
Aloft Kuala Lumpur

W-Hotel
Oh how we love the W hotels. It’s luxurious, but not in a awkward kind of way. It’s hip and happening and it’s always located at a central place. The W hotel in Kuala Lumpur is located right across the Petronas Towers, and from the rooftop pool, you have the perfect view. There is a lovely outside pool bar, 3 restaurants, a gym and spa. The only downside is, that there is a club downstairs and it can be noisy during the weekends. However, if you are looking for a good time, the W is your hotel! 

W Hotel Kuala Lumpur
W Hotel

Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa
This hotel is really the best place to escape the concrete buildings and relax before heading back home. Elke stayed here during her last day of her Malaysia trip and we can’t even begin to tell you why it’s so good. First of all, it’s not located in the middle of KL. It’s about a 25 minute taxi drive from the airport, and the resort is surrounded by lush palmtrees and plants, giving it a real tropical feel. There are 3 restaurants, of which the buffet restaurant was Elke’s favourite. And if you want to re-charge yourself before your long flight back home, you should go for a 2,5 hour spa treatment in their luxurious spa. Rooms are available from around €58,- which is great value for money! www.cyberviewresort.com

Cyberview Hotel
Relaxing before heading back home



What to see & do

1. Jalan Alor
One thing we discovered is that people in Malaysia love to eat! What a coincidence, me too! If you visit KL and you like food you should definitely go to Jalan Alor at night – located in the north of Jalan Bukit Bintang. During the day the Jalan Alor area is relatively dead, but in the afternoon it gets a complete makeover: busy colorful streets with chairs and tables and food everywhere. Jalan Alor is famous for its diverse street stalls with tasty and fresh street food, known as the ‘hawker stalls’. It attracts a lot of tourists but you will also find a lot of locals. From Malay, Indian, Chinese to Thai and Indonesian food, every Asian country is present and all stalls offer the best from its local cuisine. From 5PM-11.30PM

Kuala Lumpur
A coconut stall in Kuala Lumpur

2. Jalan Masjid
In addition to many diverse stores with Indian goods and food, at nights the streets are busy, noisy, full with tables and chairs where food is the most important for everyone. You will smell the Indian dishes from a distance. So if you love the Indian cuisine, then this is the place to be for you. So for the best Malay and Indian food you will need to go to Little India, Jalan Masjid India. The colorful and vibrant street offer fresh tasty Indian snacks where everyone eats with their hands. Seriously, one of the best Indian food I’ve ever had.

Jalan Masjid

Kuala Lumpur is a city build around food

3. Kampung Baru
This little village exists in a small corner of downtown Kuala Lumpur. Kampung Baru, or “new village,” a Malay enclave, located just a short hike away from Kuala Lumpur City Centre next to the Petronas Twin Towers. This is a very nice place to visit! On Saturday there’s a weekly night market where you can try delicious and healthy Malay, Chinese and Thai food.

Kampung Baru

4. Batu Caves
The very popular tourist attraction located in the north of Kuala Lumpur in Selangor are the Batu Caves. The Batu Caves have three main caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines with lots of monkeys surrounded. Watch the monkeys, they can be aggressive. With 272 steps, many tourists and heat its best to arrive early in the morning before 10AM during the weekday to avoid this. That said, also avoid weekends and the Thaipusam festival – two months a year with changing dates – where many tourists will visit this attraction. Watch out for slippery stairs due the rain. Despite the hustle and bustle, its definitely worth visiting. If you get there early, you can take some good shots like the one below.

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur

5. Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas towers are a big tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur. People go in to see the impressive skyline from the top. If you only have a view days in KL and you need to wait, I recommend you to see the Petronas towers at night. Beautiful lightning as you can see in this picture.

Kuala Lumpur, Twin Tower

6. Shopping Malls
Like most Asian capitals, you can find some of the biggest shopping malls in the capital of Malaysia. From high end brands, to cheap stores and foodcourts. These are our favorites:

  • Suria KLCC (more luxury and high end brands, located next to Petronas Towers)
  • The Gardens (many shops, food and cinema)
  • Sungei Wang Plaza (small shops, very affordable, great for souvenirs)
  • Lot10 (mid/upper class stores, looks great!)
  • Nu Sentral Shopping Centre (located next to the Sentral Train Station)

7. Pineapple Hill “Bukit Nanas”
The entrance is quite difficult to find, but if you want to escape the concrete jungle and trade it for a real one, you should go for a stroll through this tropical forest.There are jungle trails, a visitors centre, and a forestry museum. Some trees are over a 100 years old! Take the metro to Bukit Nanas station and bring mosquito repellent because you will need it. 

Tips
» Take a walk, there’s too much to miss if you take a train or a bus in KL
» You don’t have to tip unless stated otherwise
» Eat the street food, it’s amazing!
» Talk with locals, they can all speak a bit English and they love to help you out

Love,

Wander-Lust

More Malaysia? 

 

Catawiki » Finding that unique treasure online

Auctions. It was something that I had only seen on TV, where people would buy antiques and art, something I had never experience before. But why not? There are many treasures to hunt for, or maybe even sell. When I travel, I buy special items and I bargain for it. So why wouldn’t I do this online? I decided to explore and test Catawiki, one of the largest and fastest growing online auction platforms in Europe.

CataWiki

Do you have a special piece of art from Bali?

How to use Catawiki
If you go to Catawiki.com, you’ll immediately see several items that have joined the auction platform and are available for sale. You can either sell or buy. Do you have a special piece of art from Bali? Or an item that has been in the family for decades? Catawiki has many in-house experts that review your items and advise a decent price to offer your lot. Add a clear description, good quality photographs that include numbers, codes or other details. If your lot has a value of more than €200, you can add a reserve price to it. If your lot does not reach this price at auction, it will not be sold. What’s in it for Catawiki? Well, they ask for a 12,5% of the winning bid, (excluding VAT). A small fee to pay if you sell your vintage watch for thousands of Euro’s! This video explains:

Pretty sad for the jacket that I knew deserved better.

My Selling Experience on Catawiki
I’ve had this one Levi’s Vintage Jacket for ages. It was just hanging in my closet. Pretty sad for the jacket that I knew deserved better. I had tried to sell it at Marktplaats, E-Bay and United Waredrobe, but people wouldn’t offer more than 50 euro’s for it, even though this jacket was worth well over a 100 Euro. This is when someone told me about Catawiki. A platform full of one of a kind items from all over the world. Here you can find jewellery, art, books, vintage fashion items & accessories, and much more.

Catawiki levis
My Levi’s Vintage jacket on Catawiki

CataWiki
Snap Snap, got a vintage camera? Sell it!

Each day, new “lots” are offered and go up for auction for about 5 days. I offered my lot for 135 euro with an estimate value of 300 euro. Within 5 days, I received several bids, and it was eventually sold at 135! Afterwards you need to wait for the buyer to transfer the money, and you are ready to send you item. Shipping cost will be paid by the buyer and you can ship from anywhere in the world.

So are you ready to put your auction face on? Or perhaps you are looking for that vintage Chanel bag? Don’t be hesitant, take the leap! It’s a whole new treasure world out there.

Love,

Elke

*This article was written in collaboration with Catawiki. At Wander-Lust we only collaborate with brands and organisations that we believe in and offer a good product, so we can tip it to you, our readers in an honest way.

Panama » the perfect exotic holiday destination

Panama has it all, for me, it’s the perfect exotic holiday destination! It’s small in size but it offers a big variety which is easy to reach; exotic tropical rainforests, beautiful beaches, more than a 1000 islands, best surf spots, an incredible nightlife, breathtaking views, Spanish colonial architecture, jungle, rafting and kayaking. Panama really surprised me and here are my personal tips!

Panama


Panama City

Downtown of Panama
When you enter Panama you will immediately see a very impressive skyline on the right side that is surrounded by tropical rainforest and on the left sight you see the beautiful ocean where people are surfing. In Panama city you will find the business district on one side, with lots of hotels and restaurants with the best shopping opportunities, and on the other side you will find Casco Viejo district, historical center built in the 17th centuryThere’s a lot to discover and activities like jungle trips, a visit to Panama canal are just a few hours away from the city.

Panama still struggles with crime and poverty. In some areas you’re not allowed to enter, which you will know when the police will tell when you try to enter a street.  Panama is definitely tourist friendly, you feel save during the day and night, but people recommend you to take a taxi in the evening.

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The skyline of Panama is so impressive!


Casco Viejo

The Old Town
We stayed in the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo – which means old quarter in Spanish, and is only 10 min. away from the business district by taxi. Casco Viejo is small, but you can wander around for days, since this cozy neighborhood has a lot to offer: numerous bars, various restaurants where they service top notch food, great nightlife with some very nice bars where you can order delicious local beers and fresh cocktails, street art, castles, museums etc.

We only had two days to explore Casco Viejo, before heading to the islands, which was too short and therefore we came back again on the end of our trip! You feel at home right away; the locals are very friendly and the area is so incredibly beautiful. Take a walk along the beach where you will have the impressive ocean view, wander through the streets and admire the Spanish architecture with beautiful pastel colored buildings, have a coffee at one of the quality coffee shops, stroll at Plaza de La Independencia Market where I bought this handmade Wayuu Mochila bag, check out the Panama Canal, wander and end your evening with a very nice dinner and have some fresh cocktails at the oceanfront art bar.

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Catedral Metropolitana  & Market at Plaza de La Independencia


Bocas Del Toro

Bocas Town
A propeller plane took us from Panama City to Bocas Del Toro. After one hour you see the Caribbean Sea, the archipelago’s nine islands, surrounded by hundreds of tiny uninhabited islets and the mainland, Bocas Town.

It takes a 10 min.walk to enter Bocas. Bocas is a hotspot amongst travelers all over the world where most lodging and restaurants are. Water taxi’s depart from this mainland to the different islands. During the day you can wander the streets for shopping, drinks and food and in the night Bocas is known for their famous party’s.
Are you looking for a more quit holiday, then you should definitely stay at one of the island like we did. Each island has its own unique vibe and offers travelers diversity.

We skipped the mainland and went directly to Isla Bastimentos by boat, that takes 2 min. We’ve found this tropical romantic Caribbean beach front villa where we relaxed for almost one week. We stayed longer than planned since we really enjoyed the vibe and the surrounded islands with lots of activities.
We swam in crystal clear water, enjoyed beautiful sunsets while drinking delicious cocktails and ate fresh fish which the local fisherman caught. We slept in a very nice cabin where you hear the sounds of lapping waves, parrots and monkeys.
In the night we took a boat to the mainland for dinner and drinks.

Panama - Bocas
Taxi’s will bring you to different breathtaking islands where you can snorkel, surf, tan and relax.

Red Frog Beach
We often took the boat to some other islands. One of them is Red Frog Beach which is 10  min. from the mainland.

We found this very cozy place, Palmer Tent lodge, where we met some very nice people, one of them was the owner. Unfortunately it was fully booked, we really wanted to stay for a few days. This Eco-friendly beach front place offers lots of activities like; surfing, hiking, zip line riding, yoga and most important you can really just relax in a hammock. They have a small but yummy affordable menu.
I really enjoyed surfing, the teacher was so friendly and patient that I got the change the learn it even better.

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Red Frog Beach, chilling and surfing at Palmer Tent lodge

Tips

» Bring Sunscreen SPF30, you can get burned very easily in Panama, my favorite is Lancaster
» Make sure to bring dollars or exchange your money into their local currency balboa
» Book your domestic flights upfront to save money, Air Panama
» Try to combine Panama with another country when planning a few weeks, like Costa Rica
» Book your stay at Bocas upfront, since it’s a very popular destination and fully booked very easily, check here

Costs

» Tickets cost around 800 euro
» Cabins at the beach start from 35 dollar
» We spent around 50 euro a day per person

We didn’t managed to go to the San Blas islands because unfortunately illness struck me for a few days. It’s suppose to be heaven so hopefully we will get the chance to travel there again!

Love,

Sarah

Amsterdam Events Calendar for December

It’s the most wonderful time of the year..tralalalalaaaa. Believe it or not, but we’ve come to the last month of the year! December is great for Amsterdam because we have markets, shopping opportunities and events. Let’s see what’s going on shall we?

Amsterdam Light Festival
When? 1st of December – 22nd of January, along the canals
What?  Beautiful light objects display along the canals of Amsterdam 
We love this festival! It seems like it’s getting better each year and it’s definitely worth checking it out. You can walk around but the best thing is to do a boat tour. This year there are more than 35 displays from several local and foreign artists. For more info check www.amsterdamlightfestival.com

Amsterdam Light Festival
One of the amazing light objects

Iceskating at Floor 17
When? All winter
What? Ice Skating and winter events on the top of Ramada Hotel
Get into the winter spirit and get your skates on! The rooftop of the Ramada Hotel in Amsterdam West is hosting this wonderful ice-skating ring where you can enjoy the view whilst sipping on hot chocolate and curry sausages. You can try some curling lessons from the 9th of December or check out the small Christmas Market on the 17th & 18th of December! www.floor17.nl/rooftop-terrace

Floor 17 ice skating

Sunday Market Sinterklaas & Funky Christmas Edition
When? 4th of December & 11th of December, Westergasfabriek (in and outside)
What? The nicest market in Amsterdam
The Sinterklaas and Christmas markets are by far the best so keep these Sundays free! Entrance is free as usual and there is plently to look forward to. Food, clothes, performances, photo’s, music and local goodies. www.sundaymarket.nl

Sissy Boy Christmas Market
When? 10th of December, Amstelveld en Brasserie Nel
What? The brand Sissy-Boy comes with a market
Enjoyt gluhwein, live Christmas music, good food and all your favorite fashion brands. Young and beginning designers will be spread over the Amstelfield on the 10th of December. Entrance is free but bring some cash for shopping! Facebook

Sissiy Boy Christmas Market

Pure Markt Winter Edition
When? 11th of December, Amstelpark
What? Organic, fair and delicious
I love this market because it’s in my favorite park in Amsterdam. Amstelpark. A little more far out of the city center but worth paying a visit to on a Sunday. The pure market is a place to explore, discover, taste and learn about all the different foods of Holland (and the rest of the world). Try some Dutch Gouda cheese, Surinam roti, Indian curry, American pie or a freshly chucked oyster. Order an organic beer, coffee or wine to go. Facebook

Ice Sculpture Festival
When? 10th of December – 5th of February, Arena Park
What? Beautiful Ice Sculptures
From an icy Elvis to disco music inspired sculptures, you can see it at the Ice Sculpture Festival in Amsterdam this year. Tickets are €16,50,-  www.ijsbeelden.nl

Ice Sculpture Festival

Zolder 47
When? 16th – 18th of December, Hotel De Hallen
What? Vintage, art, design, fashion sale
The owner of Hotel the Hallen has a love for art, design, vintage and special objects he collects throughout his travels. Each year the hotel hosts a special sale where some of these items are being sold for a reasonable price. Be quick, because the best items will go quickly! www.hoteldehallen.com

Circus Zanzara
When? 20th of December – 8th of January, Westergasfabriek
What? A circus with a special twist
This is a circus but not the type that you are used to. It’s theatrical, bohemian and kitsch. It’s interactive and special. Instead of animals they use dolls and they have a organic-bar. This is the circus that you would want to join! www.circuszanzara.com

Eventbrite Gentle Yoga Classes
When? Every Saturday throughout December, Lijnbaansgracht 173
What? Yoga classes organized by Expats Republic in Amsterdam
The man behind Expats in Amsterdam organized these gentle yoga classes for beginners as well as experienced practitioners that includes playful teamwork.  The class only cost 9 euro’s per lesson and are given by Anna Kushnir who has more than 10 years experience in this field. Bring comfy clothes and a mat (you can rent one for 1 euro) Check here for tickets and more info.

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Futurist Dinner
When? 24th, 25th, 26, 27th, 28th 31st of  December, Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijkspark 6
What?  Food of the future
If you have never heard of Mediamatic in Amsterdam, than now is the time. This innovating space in Amsterdam East is the place to be when it comes to discovery in every sense of the word. They also host dinners and workshops surrounding food. Futurist Dinner is a collaboration with Odorama-curator Caro Verbeek, Giulia Soldati, Cateringa & Kompanen and Mediamatic. The dinners start at 7pm. Prices will be available soon so check: www.mediamatic.net

Mediamatics

 

Digital Products Design & UX Networking Event
When? 15th of  December, Suzy Wong
What?  This event is about connecting you with folks who can be of assistance and vice versa, whether it’s looking for help or advice on a product you’re working on, trying to get involved with a specific company, or just discussing topics that you’re interested in. Want to learn more about UX and Product Design? The event is free but don’t forget to sign up. More info here

*This calendar will be updated weekly!

Love,

Wander-Lust

How to shoot your best portret photo’s while you travel

When you travel there is one thing you will never forget to bring with you. Your camera. At least, if you’re serious about capturing those special moments with a lot of quality. Lucky for us, there are briljant camera’s out there that will make sure you don’t miss a thing! In this blogpost I want to highlight portret photography and why it’s important to buy yourself a good lens.

Portret photo's
One of the portret photo’s I shot with my new Olympus 45mm lens

Tips For Shooting A Great Travel Portret
If you’re not used to shooting portret photo’s of people during a trip, it’s certainly something to get over with because there is nothing more amazing than capturing a face with a story behind it.

» Set your camera.  I recommend you to use aperture priority in which the aperture is selected and the appropriate shutter speed is controlled automatically. This enables you to choose the aperture and ISO you want and lets you spontaneously shoot a scene without the necessity to change every setting. However, be cautious about the shutter speed.
» Get yourself a good lens. When you want to capture a face (or animal) it’s vital that you opt your camera with a good lens. If you want to bring out details in the face, like wrinkles or huge sweaty pores, you might close your aperture a little bit more than for a young girl with soft skin and a soft look. Yes, lenses are expensive but they are a huge investment. We advise the 45mm 1.8 portret lens from Olympus as it’s easy to use and does the job without too many settings. 
» Ask for permission. Always ask if you can make a picture and if you can’t, take the gamble because the moment might fade and chances are that you’re not going to be back again.
» Be confident. If you’re going to hesitate you might miss the window of opportunity. You are the photographer and you know your skills.
» Try to make a conversation.
There might be a language barrier but by using a bit of sign language you will get a long way. It’s great to learn more about the person you photograph. Find out why this person inspires you.
» Accept and understand different cultures.
You might not agree with everything you see around you but accept that there are different believes and cultures and embrace them.

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Moving Animals are easy to photograph with a good lens

Using the Olympus 45mm portret lens
We use the Olympus 45mm 1.8 portret lens

I hope you can use these tips on your next adventurous trip!

Love,

Elke

Also read: How to make travel photo’s like a boss:

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How To Create A Successful Travel Blog

When you start writing, you do it because you love doing it. But don’t we all just want to do what we love? Yes, the bills need to get paid of course, but there is nothing better than working at something you have created yourself, out of passion, out of love. Well, that’s what happened with Wander-Lust. It started with a crazy idea and grew into something that I could not have dreamed of. A successful travel blog.

A few weeks ago I talked about how I became a fulltime travel blogger and I noticed that a lot of people had more questions after the article. All very positive (thanks for that!) but there are certainly more tips that I can give you so you head in the path of successful blogging.

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Elke & Sarah

Set Up Your Blog On WordPress
Many of you already know this but when you first start, you may not have a clue just like I did. I was a WordPress dummie and believe me, I’m still learning! Go and buy yourself a theme and don’t go for one of those free versions because they will give you headaches in the end when you want to expand. At themeforrest there are many options but ask around and compare the idea in your head with the themes you see online. We used the Brooklyn Theme but changed it around to suit our needs. Think before you do this as it may slow down your website! Also, add content onto your blog so you don’t start with an empty website when you go live.

Invest Time & Money
When I started Wander-Lust with Sarah, we didn’t have a lot of time but we made sure we made time. We worked into the early hours to get it right. Thank god we had so many articles in our heads ready to be written! We also didn’t have a great deal to spend but we did it anyway. When you want a professional blog, you need to look it. Yes, it starts with the theme but also your server host, plugins you may need and any technical support. We saved a lot of money by getting friendly people to help us for a trade of lunch or gifts. Also, if you want to become a travel blogger, you need to get your hands on a good camera to shoot your pictures. We both use the Olympus PEN and OMD camera’s but I am also making most of my photo’s with my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone. (almost all our Instagram photo’s are made with this phone)

Get Your Social Media Game On
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and more. Start creating accounts for all of these platforms and make sure they look good. (use the same filter for example) It all starts with your header picture, name and description. Social Media is important because this way you will grow your audience to your blog. We started out with Instagram because we are very visual but find out what platform works best for you. Facebook is still great for gaining traffic to your blog so keep some budget aside to promote your page in order to gain more likes. 

Social Media Wander-Lust

Connect with Fellow Travel Bloggers
This may seem a bit weird at first but don’t be scared, travel bloggers are really nice people! 😉 It’s good to learn from each other plus you will also make a bunch of new friends! Sarah and I met a lot of nice bloggers over the years and we even collaborate with some of them now! How to get in touch? Well, you will meet them at PR events most of the time but if you’re just starting out, you can just reach out via Social Media and ask them for a coffee or advice!

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Connect with fellow bloggers (Elke with @MrsJamieli and Lotte from @beautify)

Be Different
This doesn’t always mean that you need to have a niche but it means you bring something fresh to the table. Find your writing style, your layout, your photo filter on social media and get people to recognize your blog. Try to be better in everything that has been written before. Yes, many people have visited Los Angeles, but make your story 10 times more interesting. How? That’s totally up to you. Be creative and find your style.

Set A Goal For Yourself But Be Realistic
Setting a new blogging goal is a good idea but be realistic about it because getting a successful travel blog doesn’t happen overnight. My goal was as follows; Get at least 600 people to read my blog in the first week. That seems like a lot but spam the hell out of your friends and family and trust me, it will happen. Now, if your content is good and your blog looks like a million dollars, people will read it again. Another goal could be to get your first press trip within 1 year. Work towards it by gaining followers, creating a smashing Media Kit and meeting with PR Agencies within your region. Find the relevant agencies by checking their client list so you know if they represent any travel related brands that suit your blog.

Travel and Share Tips!
Well, you didn’t see that one coming right? 😉 Yes, if you want to be a travel blogger you need to travel as much as you possibly can. In the beginning it’s hard but if it’s your passion, you will spend all of your free days abroad anyways so you might as well write about it. Check if you still have stories to tell about your previous adventures so you have a start ahead. Share as many tips as possible, your readers are not just interested about you but need to feel like they gained some new information after reading your blogpost. 

I hope these tips will help and get you that successful travel blog you’ve been dreaming of! And maybe the most important tip: never forget to enjoy it. We travel for love, at least I do.

Love,

Elke

Read Elke’s story on how she became a professional travel blogger here:
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Top 5 Secret Spots in Amsterdam

I love discovering places in my hometown that are a little under the radar. But then again, I like these places because they are quiet and not over popular. For this reason I had to think twice before writing this article. But we started this blog not to keep the best things for ourselves but to share them with the world so here we go. These are the top 5 secret spots in Amsterdam!

1. De Cantina
Word of mouth or a bicycle ride takes you to this secret spot in Amsterdam West. I live far into west Amsterdam so for me it was only a matter of time before I discovered De Cantina. This place is amazing. They serve coffee, cake, homemade lemonade and sandwiches with ingredients from their own garden or local produce. Nothing major but it’s the location and use of space that makes this secret spot worth mentioning. De Cantina is situated in between the “1800 roerden” an creative area where artists work. De Cantina is also part of “Het Rijk van de Keizer” which is a location that can be used for weddings, parties and dinners. You can lay in the sunshine deck on a fatboy, hammock or chill in an old car wreck. Find a spot in the shade under umbrella’s tucked away in between the trees. Don’t be surprised if you see chickens walking around, this is normal! So grab your bike and head for some peace and quiet!
De Cantina
Joris van Den Berghweg 109, Amsterdam
www.hetrijkvandekeizer.nl

De Cantina Amsterdam
Overlooking the Dutch landscape

De cantina
So peaceful

Chilling in a car at De Cantina
Chillin’ in a car, well.. half a car!

2. Bar Porem
This secret bar is so cool that we have to tell you about it! If you live in Amsterdam, you may have heard of a restaurant called Gheisa. It’s one of the best places for sushi and Asian fusion cuisine. On the way to the toilet was a large space that wasn’t used in the most effective way. A big shame because that space had great potential! When 2 friends from Amsterdam heard this, they didn’t have to think long about what to do with it. Both experienced cocktail shakers, they decided to create a typical Amsterdam Cocktail bar with a menu inspired by some of Amsterdam’s most famous characters such as Johan Cruyf and Andre Hazes. The wall is decorated with framed pictures and classic bottles. The interior is brown yet stylish and there are around 6 tables to sit at. Bar Porem isn’t so easy to find. No, you need to check the door closely and ring the left doorbell for someone to open. and ssst, don’t tell just anybody about this place.
Bar Porem
Geldersekade 17, Amsterdam
www.poremamsterdam.com

Bar Porem Amsterdam
Our cocktails at Bar Porem

3. Hotel de Windketel
This tiny hotel is right in the middle of Amsterdam, yet nobody realizes it’s a place where you can spend the night at. It’s a freestanding octagonal brick tower and was built in 1897 as part of Amsterdam’s water works. Most buildings like that get destroyed but not this one. It now features as a luxury apartment for 2 equipped with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living space. The nice part is, that it’s in a really nice quiet area of Amsterdam, but only a 10 minute walk from the Jordaan. It’s not the cheapest option (325 for 2 nights) but certainly the best kept secret when it comes to hotels! Perfect for a romantic getaway..
Hotel de Windketel
Watertorenplein 8c, Amsterdam
www.windketel.nl

Secret spots in Amsterdam, De Windketel
So tiny, you might miss it

Hotel de Windketel Amsterdam secret spots
The living space at Hotel De Windketel

bedroom Hotel De windketel
Bedroom in the Windketel

4. ‘T Nieuwe Diep
If you know your way into East Amsterdam, you may have heard of this secret spot that is hidden in the Flevopark. Nevertheless, it’s always worth a visit. At ‘T Nieuwe Diep, you can feast your taste buds because they have their own distillery and organic produce. Yes, they serve coffee and tea but they are most famous for their cider, gin, liqueur and bitters. (don’t know it? try it!) There is a patio over the water and although the crowd isn’t as hip and happening as in other places, this is perfect for a relaxing moment in Amsterdam. During summer, the’re open from 3pm till 8pm Mon-Sun.
‘T Nieuwe Diep
Flevopark 13, Amsterdam
www.nwediep.nl

"t Nieuwe Diep secret spots in Amsterdam

'T Nieuwe Diep, Amsterdam secret spots
‘T nieuwe diep in Flevopark Amsterdam

5. Theehuis De Aker
This tea house is right next door to where I live. Next to the water where you can make your way up to the Amsterdam Forest or towards the road to Amsterdam’s nearest beach, Zandvoort. It used to be an old waterpump mill that was used to dry the ground back in the 19th century. I love this place because they collaborate with non-profit foundation the Vrije Geer, so people with a disability can work a few hours a day and serve you coffee, tea, cakes and lunch. The Aker mill has been restored a few times and is the only remaining hydraulic engineering work between Halfway and Amstelveen. 
Theehuis De Aker
Zwarte Pad 30, Amsterdam
www.deakermolen.nl

Tea House De Aker
The perfect stop after a bicycle ride

So there you have it, 5 secret spots in Amsterdam that you may not have heard of. Let’s be gentle with these places as they are not your average hotspots where you can take out your laptop and have a conference call. No, these spots are here for you to enjoy some peace and quiet in a hectic city like Amsterdam.

Love,

Elke

Packing Guide » The Ultimate Travel Skin Kit

I’m traveling for the weekend quite often, flying around on a monthly basis for work. Everyone knows that you can carry limited quantities of liquids through airport security when you are only allowed to bring hand luggage. Liquids may only be carried in containers holding 100ml or less. HELP! 

One thing that causes some stress on a female traveler would probably be about packing those liquid toiletries right? How can you bring all your favorites toiletries? It already happened to me a couple of times, when I start packing my bags in a rush and totally forgot to check the quantities. I had to say goodbye to some of my favorite (and very expensive) creams at the security. But this will not happen to me again! Luckily our favorite brand Dermalogica came with Travel Skin Kit options.
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This Dermalogica Travel Skin Kit basically contains a full regimen of what your skin needs most, wherever you’re going! For £26.35 you get a cleanser, toner, scrub and active moist. There are several travel skin kits available.

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Elke uses the normal/dry travel kit from Dermalogica

One of our favorites is the multi-active toner. The air at high altitudes has very little moisture, it makes the cabin air dry. Your skin gets dehydrated and this toner has the perfect solution for it. It helps the condition and prepares the skin for proper moisture absorption. Arnica and Cucumber extracts help to keep the skin smooth and refreshed. Spray directly over the entire face and throat with eyes closed.

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Handy for in your bag!

Skin secrets on the plane:
» Make sure to drink a lot of water before and during the flight
» Sleep with your hair out of your face. Many of us use oil and hair care products. Make sure to pull all of your hair off your face as it can be harmful. 
» Make sure that your moisturize has SPF of 30 or higher. It isn’t just for vacation, it’s your best weapon in the fight against wrinkles and sun damage. When you get out of the plane and your skin is exposed with daylight, it’s very important that your skin is protected. Don’t forget your chest and the top of your hands (which most people forget).
» Don’t pick at your face. You see seriously everything in the lights of the toilets. Most of us know we shouldn’t do this, but lots of us do it anyway….

Good luck and let me know if it helped you!


Love,
 
Sarah

Hacienda Na Xamena » Paradise in Ibiza

Instagram heaven is right here – Hacienda Na Xamena in Ibiza.

Hacienda 1
I am not exaggerating right?

Planning to go to Ibiza next year?
I visited this magical place in the North of Ibiza » It’s a hotel, restaurant & spa that is perched on a cliff edge 180 meters above the sea, surrounded by an idyllic Mediterranean pine forest where I’ve spent the first day of my holiday.

Na Xamena Hotel Hacienda has the best view of Ibiza.
Hidden on the North side of the island in a nature reserve and a 10 minutes drive from Sant Miquel, you will find this five star hotel from the seventies that is built by the Belgian architect Daniel Lipszyc.

I was invited by La Posidonia, the SPA- named after the protected seaweed that grows around Ibiza – of Hacienda where they offer a wide range of body and facial treatments and spa rituals. I received a private tour where they showed me the package deal for their guests. I was very impressed by the sun terrace, restaurant, swimming pools and sunbeds. The perfect place to recharge your batteries, but it comes with a price – from 400 euro per night.
*This is without any treatments of the SPA.

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After my tour I took my first treatment –  Silky Skin (body scrub with sea salt and aromatic oils).
I recommend everyone to scrub your body before your holidays to prepare your skin for tanning. It’s as important as protecting it when exposing yourself to the sun!
Then I experienced the “Cascadas Suspendidas – a 45 min hydrotherapy treatment in 8 heated pools at different temperatures that give hydro-jet massages whilst enjoying the view.
The Cascadas Suspendas – 45 min access to the 8 pools, including some snacks – will costs you 55 euro.

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Pool 7 and 8 are the best since you will have this breathtaking view when enjoying this warm bath.

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The drink & snack you will receive after the Cascadas Suspendas with Pica Pica treatment

TIP » Watch the sunset from the roof deck when enjoying a good glass of champagne or a cocktail.

It’s definitely worth visiting, but I prefer to dive into the pool, have a cocktail on the beautiful terrace with the perfect view rather then enjoy the spa for 45 minutes. Unfortunately this is only possible when you are a Hotel guest. That saying, it was an amazing experience!
So keep an eye on the rates to find the best prices for next season!

Hacienda

Address
s/n, Carrer na Xamena
07815 San Miguel, Ibiza
http://www.hotelhacienda-ibiza.com/en/

Enjoy!

Sarah

 For more inside tips about Ibiza, check my last post about Ibiza’s best beaches and my top 5 places to eat.

USA Roadtrip » Part 1

It’s probably everyones dream: USA Road trip West Coast! Last October we finally made the dream a reality, packing up a RV and hitting the road in what would become a 1600-mile journey from LA to San Francisco via Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley & High Way 1. Read more