Petronas Towers: Kuala Lumpur

I have more to say about Australia, the wonderful food, the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, but for now I’m going to skip them and hurry to catch up! Our first stop in South East Asia was Kuala Lumpur, which is Air Asia’s main hub and very convenient to travel from. We were only there for two days and spent most of our time in our guesthouse researching where to go Scuba diving the next week. We did make it to the awe inspiring Petronas Towers. While we skipped the trip up with its hefty price tag and early wake up time, $20 and 7am, we spent an hour

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More Opera House

Here are some more photos. I was  a little obsessed…

It’s an absolutely glorious building.

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The Opera House

Another surreal travel moment: our first look at the Sydney Opera House. We spent most of our week in Sydney on the waterfront, admiring it. It is an incredibly beautiful building and we couldn’t get enough of it.

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The GREAT barrier reef

When I was teaching Travel and Tourism in Canada, I taught an entire unit on Australia. While the students were complaining, as they do, about the content, I was relishing the opportunity to learn more about a country I had always wanted to visit. All through this trip I have been stopping to marvel at the fact that I am actually in Australia, and no where were these thoughts as strong as at the great barrier reef. Similar to the Great Wall or Mount Fuji, it’s one of the places in the world where you can’t help but have a surreal moment. I can’t believe I’m actually here!
We booked a day trip to the reef on a snorkel and scuba diving boat for just over $100. They picked us up at our hostel in the morning and after getting our safety numbers and our snorkel gear we headed out to the reef. Our boat made two stops, at the Hastings reef in the morning and at Saxon reef in the afternoon.

The boat trip itself was wonderful, with coffee and cookies in the morning, an amazing lunch buffet, and really delicious muffins. Scott and I were two of the only non-divers, so we spent most of our time with a retired couple from Canberra, but we basically had the top of the reef to ourselves.
We purchased an underwater camera case, which served it’s purpose for three uses, and headed into the water. It was amazing!

We saw lots of amazing fish and other incredible underwater life. However, for me, the best part was the reef itself. It was about two feet below the surface and you could easily swim right over the top. It dramatically dropped off 20 feet at the edge, and it was an amazing feeling to swim from the reef to the open water and back again. I felt like I was in Finding Nemo.
The pictures are not great, but it was an amazing experience.

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Great Wall

The Great Wall of China. I still can’t believe I actually got to go! It was the only place I knew I wanted to see on our trip. We took an overnight tour offered by our hostel and had an amazing time exploring the wall.

We left the hostel at 1 pm and drove two hours to the far end of the Badaling section of the wall. This was not the Badaling section teeming with tourists and souvenir stalls. In our entire time on the wall we saw only one other group. Our guide showed us where the tents were and told us what time to meet back for dinner and then we were free to explore the wall!

As amazing as it was to be at the Great Wall, all I could think about for our three hour hike was how many stairs there were, and when they would stop. It was quite the workout. Up and down, up and down, some parts on rocks that crumbled beneath our feet or on stairs only half as wide as my foot. The extreme concentration I was putting into not dying of a fall or a stroke meant that I took only one photo of myself on the wall, and it’s that beauty up there. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

 

After a delicious dinner we were set free on the wall until 8:30 the next morning, when the guides would be back to pick us up. All alone on the world heritage site, we had a good time playing with our cameras and flashlights, until one of the flashlights fell over the wall and we were forced to compete in events of physical strength instead.


The night was cold, windy, and more than a little miserable, but it was worth it in the morning, when we woke up to watch the sunrise. Some of our group were ambitious and went on a two hour trek, but I only made it to the first tower. The view was spectacular.

I definitely recommend the overnight tour. While we might not have been at one of the most famous or most beautiful areas of the wall, having the whole place to ourselves was amazing. The tour cost about $90 and included three meals and all the camping equipment. I would however, recommend bringing warm clothing and an extra blanket so you can sleep well enough to hike in the morning.

How to: We booked the trip through Leo Hostel, a place I would definitely recommend staying!

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