16 April 2018

Things to do in Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur in 3 days

The last time I was in Malaysia it was all about Work Work Work, nothing but WORK, I didn’t even get a chance to see some of my friends, that was exactly 12 months ago. This time around I went to Malaysia Kuala Lumpur to explore the city, I wanted to see what has changed and what I might have missed on my last visits. I took a journey with a few friends of mine working on an upcoming project (I can’t say much on that)
I spent 3 days 2 nights in Kuala Lumpur. Before I even got into my day plan I noticed there were GO KL buses right across where I stayed.
GO KL buses apparently were introduced in late 2012. These buses are FREE to ride around the city centre. There are 4 routes, RedLine, PurpleLine, GreenLine and BlueLine, all going different directions around KL with a few bus stops where one can do interchanges. At the designated bus stops, you’ll find maps of each line and you can hop on at any time.
I didn’t waste any time on that day and tried the GO KL bus, guess what!? I got lost so many times and I wasn’t even bothered, LOST is my middle name. I think I get lost five hundred and ninety-nine thousand three hundred and forty-two times each month.
Source : www.myhoponhopoff.com
Malaysia has also introduced another bus system for Tourists, the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus. I highly recommend this bus to either first time tourists or even recurring travellers, for as little as RM 55 (15usd) you get a 24-hour pass to ride around the city’s attractions.
I did get on the bus (Hop - On Hop – Off), trust me when I say I have done so much compared to the times I have visited the city in the previous years.

These are the some of the places and landmarks I covered which might be of interest to you. There are more, but I felt these were enough for me considering the time I had.
Petronas Twin towers, also known as the KL Twin Towers, are one of Malaysia’s best infrastructure to-date. The building has broken records in the past by being the tallest building in the world for a period of 6 years between 1998-2004. They are however, still the tallest twin towers in the world. Standing at 452m tall, the towers have 29 double-decker high speed passenger lifts and 5 levels of underground parking. They are a very important symbol to the people and the country as they symbolise the country’s main religion, ISLAM. Seen from above, each tower resembles an 8-pointed star of Islam.
The tallest free-standing tower in South East Asia and the 7th in the world, this is one of the must visit spots. Just like the twin towers, you will get a 360-degree view of the city. What’s interesting about the Tower is the Skyboxes, these are glass boxes suspended at 300m overseeing the city, you literally see everything from the ground in an Ariel view. 

The tower also has a revolving restaurant – Atmosphere 360, bookings to dine need to be made before coming in. If you are into reality TV, you would have seen or know that this building was the first ever pit-stop for the first Amazing Race Asia.
The museum was built on the former site of Selangor museum. Opened in 1963, its structure embodies the old traditional Malaysia style and the modern-day Malaysia. The museum has 4 gallery points, which include displays about the history of Malaysia, culture, traditional weapons and instruments, art, crafts and many more.
What caught my eye was the building from the outside, the art on both sides of the entrance exhibited the history of Malaysia in an artistic way, that was a winner for me before even going in.
The mosque was constructed within a period of 2 years, started in 1963 and completed in 1965. It was built on the site of a church (talk about 2 holy places in one ey). The mosque has many interesting features that are interpreted in many different ways. Its most striking features are its 73-metre-high minaret, which resembles a folded umbrella, and its 16-point concrete dome, which resembles an open umbrella.
The mosque has a capacity of 15, 000 people in one sitting. Visitors are allowed to enter the mosque, considering they are dressed appropriately. I however didn’t get the time to go in as I came during prayer time, talk about wrong timing.
Located in Brickfield, this place started as a residential area which was later turned into a brick making centre. It was in approx. 10 years that the government moved little India to this area. The area has since seen a lot of developments as it is located conveniently by the KL transportation hub, KL Sental.
Like the name says, little INDIA, it is no doubt that as you walk down the streets you will definitely feel the Indian vibe starting with the music, spices, colourful clothing displays and so forth.
Also known as Petaling Street, China town is haven for bargain hunters, if you think your bargaining skills are top-notch, this is where you’ll get a chance to flaunt them. You will find a street with stalls ranging from imitations goods, designer clothes, gadgets as well as some local crafts. There are also restaurant serving really delicious Chinese food worth trying.
The palace dates back to the days of the Japanese Invasion of Malaysia between 1942-1945. It used to house the Japanese governor at that time. It has since gone through some renovation worth RM 800 million. Sadly, visitors aren’t allowed to go inside, but rather get a glimpse of the beautiful guarded gate. I honestly didn’t get off the Hop-On Hop-Off bus because I would have had to wait for 30 minutes for the next bus to come just to see or snap a picture of myself by the gate. If you get the bus you’ll definitely get to see the Palace.
Source : www.tourhq.com
This is one of the famous landmarks in KL and just a walk away from China Town. It is also called Pasar Seni, just like the famous Rapid KL bus stop. It is a heritage site which houses a lot of local handicrafts and souvenir stalls.
Not far from the state mosque lies the oldest Railway station that today is still used. I found the building interesting to see as it still carries the European architectural feel.
Source: Fahrenheit Suites
I honestly didn’t know this was a must visit or see place because it’s the area that I usually stay in when I visit KL. Bukit Bintang walk is well regarded as the up class trendy shopping and entertainment district. It is conveniently located, you can get the GO KL buses (free bus), the monorail (Train), Rapid KL buses, there are also dozens of shopping malls (some mall listed below) and restaurants to dine etc.
If you are into the nightlife, Changkat is somewhere around the corner. The street transforms and becomes vibrant at night.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay, I highly recommend you stay in this area to conveniently walk around and catch public transport at ease.

There are a lot of other Notable Places that you ought not to miss on your travel around KL, the shopping mall are amazing.
Suria KL
Located just by the twin towers, this is one of the most luxurious malls in Malaysia, it’s home for many designer labels such as Jimmy Choo, Chanel, LV, so forth. It is worth checking out right after you see the twin towers.
Source: Google
This is a high-end mall, the prices are not for the budget travellers, but it’s worth checking out and dine for some good food in one of the food courts or restaurants.
Time Square
This is not the actual time square you would see in the states, it’s just a borrowed name, this mall houses some branded shops and local shops with good prices too.
Lot 10
This is one of KL’s oldest 5- storey shopping malls located right in the heart of the city. It houses a mix of local shops as well and international brands. The mall has a sky bridge that connects it to Bukit Bintang monorail station.
Low Yat
Source: gowhere
If you are someone who’s always looking for good deals on gadgets and ready to bargain, this is the place to visit.
Sungei Wang
Source: travellover823.blogspot.com
One of the best budget 7 storey shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, located in the heart of KL, you can find literally any things ranging from RM10 ($2.50). You can find anything ranging from, souvenirs, clothes, gadgets, local craft etc
Fahrenheit 88
Source : Internet
Previously known as KL Plaza, the newly revamped mall is deemed to be a posh mall that hosts small sophisticated shops and restaurants. Apparently, it’s trendy amongst younger crowds.
Who Would travel to Malaysia and not try their delicacy? I will definitely share some of the food I tried on my next post.

Signing out
Mr Orsen
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11 February 2018

Happy New Year 2018 - Better Later Than Never

It feels good to be back in the new year; better late than never they say. 2018, a year of many possibilities, a year of change, a year of making bold moves a year to do great and be great.
I am very much excited for the projects that I am working on and can’t wait to share the outcomes.
The year of an Earth Dog, according to the Chinese New Year, it is going to be a GREAT year.

So much honored to have started the year in the coast. Koh Chang, a very small, clean relaxed place, not your typical touristy coast. 6 hours away from the Bangkok noise, a needed calmness.
It was amazing to have to countdown on the beach – this is a post for another day.

HELLO EVERYONE AND IT FEELS GOOD TO BE BACK, stay tuned to read more about my adventures around ASIA and the WORLD.

 Signing out
Mr Orsen
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5 December 2017

Exploring the Death Railway Via A Train To Kanchanaburi - Thailand

As I have said in many of my Thailand posts, you'll never run of places to explore and things to do here, this trip is one of the many one has to experience. The Death Railway Line carries a lot of Thailand and Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) history during the World War II, the railway line was built through some blood shedding and slavery through 1943 -1945.
A day trip Exploring this Railway line is possible through a tour guide or even more interestingly doing it on your own or with your mates for as little as 120Baht, approx. $3.50 by taking the weekend train offered by the government. This train trip was introduced to encourage the locals to have a getaway during the weekend with family and friends but they still welcome foreigners.
There are four destinations that the train stops for exploring and sightseeing; however there are other spots where you’ll just view from the moving train.

1.    Wat Phra Pathom Chedi - Chedi Temple -Nakon Pathom
The train stops for around 40 mins

This is where you will visit the tallest stupa in Thailand which stands at 120.5 meters and is the second tallest stupa in the world after Jetavanaramaya in Sri Lanka 

2.    The Birdge of The River Kwai  – approx. 20 mins
The train stops for approx. 20 mins

This spot became famous all over the world, when it was featured in movies and books. This is part of the railway lines in the World War II and of course built during the bloodshed era. The bridge was renovated by the government around 1946 after it was destroyed during the war, it has also been renovated and walk ways have been made for easy walks along the bridge. The curved bars on the bridge are the originals bars and the straight bars we added during the renovation.

3.    Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

The train will stop for 30mins or more, ask the driver and the people in charge how long you have.
It is known locally as the Don-Rak War Cemetery; it is the main Prisoner Of War Cemetery for victims of Japanese imprisonment while building the Railway Line by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war. During the construction of the Railway Line, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. The graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance (except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar. There are 1,896 Dutch war graves, the rest being from Britain and the Commonwealth. Two graves contain the ashes of 300 men who were cremated. The Kanchanaburi Memorial gives the names of 11 from India who are buried in Muslim cemeteries. The graves show men who died very young with one showing an 18 year old boy.

4.    Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi

Depending on what time you arrive you’ll spend about 3 hours
This is a small town in Sai Yok district, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, on the route of the Death Railway linking Thailand with Myanmar (former Burma). There is a waterfall located a few meters from Nam Tok Train Station. This shows an amazing nature that Thailand has. There are a lot of restaurants to have a 2 -3 hour picnic and cool off too.

 This are some of the site that you’ll get to see and enjoy without the train stopping
5.    Wampo Viaduct – Wang Po as known by the Locals

It is near Kra Sae station, the rail is supported by the plank ledges, the trail slows down crosses the creaking Wampo Viaduct. A ledge had to be carved out of the cliff face to form a base for the bridge and embankment construction. It was built in March-April 1943 and was completed within 14 months. I was renovated and reinforced after the war but still carries a lot of its 1940s originality.

Scenery of the the River Kwae Noi

Just opposite the Cemetery lies The DEATH RAILWAY MUSEUM

Here are a few tips if you decide to do the train trip:

Decide on which cart to ride – air conditioned or non-air-conditioned.
If you choose a non-air-conditioned one which is the cheapest 120baht (approx. $3.50):
1.     Bring along your shades, scarves and mask to protect yourself from the dust, hopefully you’ll arrive back in good health.
2.     Be prepared to wake up early to catch the train at the start of your journey, you can check the stations the train stops, we took the train from Bangsue at 0650hrs, I think there are 3 to 4 stations that the train stops in Bangkok, take note and the times if you don’t want to take it from the departure stations Hua Lamphong. Check out The Longest Way Home for more info.
3.     Be prepared to deal with the bugs on your way back in the evening, the best way to do is to shut the windows, work together with the people you would be sitting with
4.     Buy food at the final destination to carry along as your dinner, i.e. if you don’t mind the menu on the train which to me didn’t look appetizing, but then again you might like it, to each their own right!?
5.     The train reaches Hua Lamphong around 1930hrs; it might not always be on time though, so plan wisely.

So my pal and I rode on the non-air conditioned cart and I must say despite both of us getting sick we got the chance the experience the scenery and took a few great shots heads out from the carts, in an air-conditioned cart the windows are shut throughout the trip.

I would recommend this cart for people who are looking to get really nice shots.

Check out this BLOG for more information on the times, directions and more about this trip -à The Longest Way Home

Thank you so much for the GUIDE, The Longest Way Home highly appreciated.

Signing out
Mr Orsen
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26 November 2017

The Beginner's Guide to Teaching English Abroad for Black Africans

As a black person, especially from African, the ESL industry here in Asia can be cruel, it's a dirty game. I’ve had experiences where agencies screwed me up, some trying to offer me less pay than what other teachers got. I am an experienced ESL teacher, with 3 years’ experience teaching in classroom and 2 years online and I am half way through my BA in TESOL. To get where I am now wasn’t easy and still isn't, I still have to work extra hard to break grounds. I am from Botswana, a small country next to South Africa, colonized by the British in the late 1800s and left us their language, hence, English being our Official Language. Is my English perfect? Well, If it was, I would be an English professor somewhere with 29 books under my belt, but I am pretty sure I can read, write and speak very well.

Anyways let me get to the main point of this post, I am here to share a few tips that you as an African should consider when you want to do well or join the English teaching industry.
1.    Accent
We are ALL already stereotyped to have a very thick accent that is hard to comprehend that even Hollywood is pushing. Your accent will be the first thing that would get the employer's attention before they get to anything else, that is if ever the give you a call for an interview. A much clearer accent is preferred. Work on it, I for one is still working on that "posh" accent as it helps to pay bills.
2.    Qualification & Paperwork
Get your qualifications in check, make sure that you do have at least a bachelor’s degree, TEFL, CELTA or TESOL certificate. Your degree here is very important as it would help leverage on your 120 hours TEFL certificate that you can get in Thailand within 3 weeks and get a chance to get placed in a school and or get resources on how to go about looking for jobs. Get your police clearance from your home country as it will be required when you get your visa done along with your qualifications.
3.    Network
Expats networking is very crucial in Thailand, there is a huge network of Expats especially in the Capital City, Bangkok. Most Expats always know or are looking for people to work with or know of some openings somewhere around the city and or the country, getting in touch does improve your chances of getting a job. Moreover, it is a good community that would help you realise that home is not always where you are from but rather where you belong.
4.    Work Hard And Smart
Once you get a job, give it your all, you’ll definitely experience a lot of differences concerning the work ethics, the system, the people and all the like, but your goal here is to work, give it your all so that once you leave you’ll be remembered. Remember, you are representing the whole BLACK community that will come after you. Avoid being around the negative gangs, there will sure be people who will always complain and talk ill about the management, the system and everything around them. If you aren’t happy with your job, work on getting another one in silence. Being black, and especially from AFRICA in Thailand Working System makes it hard for one to get a job as compared to Caucasians, so you don’t want to fuck up your job opportunity and go on a struggle without a job and a visa.
5.    Racism
There will sure be some negativity towards you, being shunned down because you are black, being offered way less pay because you are black, being called names because you are black, being offered LEFTOVER jobs because you are black. At this point you have to be in control of your universe, choose whatever it is you find beneficial to you, get rid of the negativity that comes your way. I’ve gotten used to this that I don’t even feel it anymore, I choose whatever I want to affect my life, if it’s something that's not worth it I just brush it off.
6.    Jump on the Opportunity
If this is your first time in Asia as a teacher and you have no idea on how things work, you are running against time and your finances and visas aren’t helping at all, jump on the first opportunity you get and make use of it as your base ground where you will build your network, get your experience and understand the industry. Get to save money and plan your next move to your ideal job.
7.    Target the Hiring Season
The hiring seasons are from April and October respectively, I’d advise you to come in April to take you TEFL so that by May it won’t be hard for you to get a job, same goes to the following term, come in October so that by November you are able to get a job faster. If you already have your TEFL I’d advise you to come in May or November, this is the time where schools are very much in need of teachers, so they will be ready to take almost anyone to fill in the posts.
8.    Always Have your round trip Ticket
Finally, always make sure your round trip is open, why?
1.      You might need to fly back to Africa go get your VISA done, though some countries around Asia still let some Africans get their work visas, more and more are closing down on us.
2.      You can’t get a tourist visa anywhere around Asia (Except if you are SOUTH AFRICAN), so you’ll need to fly back to get it done, that is if you still want to give Thailand another try.
3.      In case it doesn’t work out and you are broke, at least you'll have your ticket to go back home, better than being stranded in an Asian country where it is already difficult for a black person

All in all, the ESL industry is a bit rough for a BLACK AFRICAN, but with hard work and perseverance you can get to where you want to be. I have been at it for the past 3 years and now I already know the ins and outs to survive and get things done.
I hope some of these tips will help you to get started in becoming an ESL teacher. I am learning each day to perfect my skills, so should you.

Mr Orsen
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About Us


A blog by an African Born and bred in Botswana, a peaceful country in the Southern part of Africa. I am somewhere wandering the continent of Asia.