Don't be guiri!
– What is the most impressive place in the world you have ever been?
The first place that comes to mind is the Perhentian islands off the east coast of Malaysia (just south of the Thai border). This is the most spectacular beach destination I’ve been to.
– What advice would you give to someone who wishes to travel there?
Avoid traveling there in the monsoon. June to August are the best months for great weather and calm ocean. The water temperature is bath-like. It’s amazing.
To get there is a bit of a trek but worth it. You can fly into the closest airport at Kota Bharu, Malaysia from either Kuala Lumpur or Penang, Malaysia. From the airport you take a taxi ride to the pier and a boat trip of around 30 mins. Tuna Bay resort have the largest, safest, and most comfortable boat, so I would recommend booking your boat trip with them, especially if you’re traveling with children or have back or neck problems (the other boats travel fast and bumpy!).
– What do you hate to forget in your suitcase?
A pair of nice headphones. I use Sennheiser PX-200s. They’re small and lightweight but fit over the ear so they’re comfortable. Earbuds hurt my ears. I like to listen to audiobooks while traveling. One I recommend as a great travel listen is Cheryl Strayed’s Wild – about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It’ll help you find your adventurous spirit.
– What would you say to those travellers who are afraid to travel on their own, and end up going to a travel agency even if they do not like taking part in organized tours?
City walking and biking tours are often great, but I generally avoid any tours that involve a bus. There are a few times when going on an organized tour makes sense, but you can pick these up as day tours rather than signing up to be on a tour your whole vacation.
I often feel terrible the first couple of days after a long flight e.g., inexplicably tearful. At the beginning of your trip, give yourself a few days in a nice hotel to adjust to culture shock and get over your jetlag.
– What kind of food have you tried on your travels and you found it delicious/surprising? Can you recommend us any place where to try it out?
I’m a vegan. I recommend trying sticky rice mango in Thailand. Near Los Angeles airport (LAX), there is a place called Veggie Grill where they make an amazing vegan cheeseburger. It’s about 3-4 miles away from the airport, so an easy taxi if you’re on a layover. I also love the vegan cakes at a bakery called Life Thyme in NYC. The bakery is inside a grocery store.
If you are interested in how I manage traveling with special dietary needs, they can read a guest post I wrote for HerPackingList.com on traveling vegan.
– Finally, tell us something that happened to you travelling and that you will never forget…
Sitting front row at a Broadway show for $25! For example, the musical Wicked has a ticket lottery where if you win they will sell you two front row tickets for around $25 each. It’s super fun to hear your name called and then be so close to the action in the theater.