How-to's, Malaysia

12 best places to eat in KL

April 24, 2014

I just discovered this cool app for creating your own city guides and couldn’t wait to share it with you. And what a great way to finally put together a list of my most favourite places to eat and chill in KL!

It’s called Jauntful and you should check it out if you are, like me, using Google maps or Foursquare lists to share your finds with others.

Here’s the 12 best places to eat in KL, as I know it:

Hidden gems of KL

You can also download the printable version here.

And please let me know in the comments below if you know a good place in KL that’s worth checking out. Thanks!

How-to's, Malaysia

How to rent an apartment in KL

April 21, 2014

We have been living in KL for 1,5 years now and moved places three times already. I’ve been getting this question quite often and thought it might come handy to those of you who are looking for a long-term rental in KL.

It really depends on where you work, how big your family is, what’s your budget etc etc. We are a young couple working in Bangsar and we had some very important must-haves in mind for our dream apartment.

1. It has to be close to work. So I defined ‘close’ first – max 20 mins drive // close to the LRT line (we have a station right in our office building).

We were considering a house in Puchong. That would be cheaper, yes, and a house, BUT the daily commute would take around 2 hours. Every day. That was a deal breaker.

2. I needed an oven. That’s not very common in KL to have ovens. Note that they will always be electrical too.

3. I didn’t care about the bathtub, but I wanted a very distinct separation of the bathroom/toilet from the living areas. In the previous apartment we had sliding glass doors to the bathroom. Trust me, you don’t want to go through this relationship trial :-)

4. Any additional amenities such as the pool, gym etc would be great to have.

5. Shops/cafes/any life around. I’ll explain this one too: in our previous place there was close to nothing around. And you wouldn’t be able to walk anywhere. It’s hard to explain, but to get to the condo, you need to drive to it. No sidewalks.

So this in mind, I browsed two local websites: this one and this one. iProperty also has an app. From start of search until you get the key, it usually takes 1,5-2 months. That’s a good safe estimate. Of course, it’s also possible to find something in less than a month.

A couple of tips on how to rent an apartment in KL:

1. Narrow down your search area

2. Browse online and make a list of condos/housing areas you like in the area

3. Contact a couple of agents (I prefer texting them as it’s sometimes hard for me to understand the accent, plus you’ll be able to keep track of who’s responsible for which unit/condo)

4. Schedule a couple of viewings so you get a good idea of the condo/area.

5. Once you decide on the short list of condos, hunt for the best apartment there. Usually it’s only a few agents per condo so you don’t need to chase 10 different agents.

6. Here the agents are on the landlord’s side, not yours. Negotiate hard.

7. If you sign a 2-year contract (while 1 year is usually the minimum), you can negotiate a better price.

8. Always check who pays for Indah water, management fees, aircon servicing, Internet installation (this one’s rarely your landlord’s responsibility, be ready to sign your own contract and file a deposit), what furniture is included and take pictures of EVERYTHING before you move in and discuss EVRY SINGLE detail (so by the time you move out and need your deposit back you don’t end up with questions like “did you replace the shower hose? What’s that little stain on the wall? What do you mean you forgot you need to service both aircons every quarter?”)

9. Deposit and other costs. It’s usually 2 rents (1 is an advance payment for the first month) + 1 full rent cost goes for utilities deposit (rarely it’s 1/2) + stamping fee for the rental agreement (around 300rm) + any other deposit for access cards, parking, Internet installation etc.

So be prepared to part with $1,5-2k at once and only get them back in a year (or 2, whichever contract you signed).

10. Be nice with your landlord. And neighbors. And the management office of your building (every condo has its own).

If you’re curious, we now live in Camellia, Bangsar South and were also considering Centrio, but it was above our budget.

Hope it was helpful. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any further questions, I’d be happy to share more information with you.

Travels

3 movies that inspire to travel

April 20, 2014

How often do you travel? How do you decide “now is the time to book a trip”? I really love going places and discovering new things, but there are times when you need to be home/wherever your base is and do whatever it is that you’re doing. Here are 3 movies that I watched recently and wanted to share with you. These movies inspire to travel. Tested and proven.

Movies that inspire to travel_featured

They are very inspiring, they are not all exactly about travelling, but are showing the beautiful world, precious moments and happiness.

1. Home. The history of a voyage

2.The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

3. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

BONUS: Enisei (in Russian) – a documentary about life in one of the remote areas in Russia.

UPDATE: Anton just found it in English too :-)

Malaysia

Garage 51

January 18, 2014

Garage 51 is a nice indie coffee place that we went the other day to have brunch with a friend. It was a gloomy rainy day, but gloomy in a nice way, in my favourite way. In Europe Autumn feels like it: it’s a bit dark, slightly foggy, very humid, it’s a weekend and you know you have the whole day to yourself and right now you are going to wrap a blanket around and walk barefoot to the kitchen and make a very good cup of coffee just as you like it and have a lazy breakfast with a book or just daydreaming.

It was the same mood, all but for the blanket and Europe part – the +30C are not exactly the same as +5C, not that I’m complaining or anything.

Untitled

The place is literally a garage in the middle of a busy area with car repair shops and other industrial entourage. What can I say? Coffee’s really good, food is good, the atmosphere is just amazing. And the lovely murmur reminded me of the Coffitivity app I use to concentrate.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

p.s. have you noticed my new beautiful header a friend of mine Yi Ning designed? I love it, thank you so so much Yi Ning!!

Diving

Diving saga. Part 3. What to see in Tioman [video]

January 9, 2014

So the dive saga continues with the video this time! If you’re unsure what to see in Tioman, go under the sea!

We saw a shark, moray eel, blue spotted ray and so much fish that if I list all the names you’ll get tired of scrolling, also there were turtles, scorpion fish, nudibranchs and coral, coral, coral.

Here’s proof. This is what diving is like.

Anton did all the shooting and the rest I did all by myself! My first ever video editing, yep, the wife of the videographer. And you can also hear what diving is like: bubbles, breathing and an occasional boat passing above.

Let me know if you like this kind of stuff, I have some more to share.

Just in case you’re missing out, here’s part 1 and part 2 of this Diving Saga.

Cheers,

Olya

Diving

Diving saga. Part 2. Tioman diving

December 28, 2013

Starfish

Learning diving is fun. There’s so much written about it, so many questions answered and experiences shared. I won’t repeat the Internet, I’ll use the famous tattoo quote: If you’re not sure, don’t do it. That is to answer the question of “Oh, should I learn? It’s scary, right? Will it hurt?

Tioman reef

It’s an experience, it’s not hard, it’s a lot of information and new skills to learn but it’s just like learning to drive – it’s common sence knowledge. But it opens a whole new world to explore!

Fish school

When you do specialty dives in Advanced Open Water course, you need to choose which 3 you’ll do additionally to navigation and deep dive. I chose fish ID (where you sketch down fish underwater and then sit with a book and find which ones you saw), photo dive, and hm.. I don’t remember now, but was fish-related too. Tioman diving has so much to offer, you have everything there – ship wrecks, abundance of fish, coral, deep dives, shallow dives – everything!

Pipefish

I LOVE FISH! Following one to see where it goes, what it does, the busy underwater life, awww. Apparently most of the divers have a certain passion for something. Some take macro pictures, some try to spot a certain fish family, some like wreck diving and some can’t live without night dives. I discovered mine – it’s fish.

Red breasted wrasse

Here and above are the pictures our instructor Fahmi took over the entire week of our learning.

Giant pufferfish

Fahmi is a great admirer of nudibranchs – those are teeny tiny fellas that you won’t even notice if you don’t pay attention. But with macro mode and some flash you can see how beautiful they are!

Nudibranch

Nudibranch

Nudibranch couple

This is the white eyed moray eel. White eye = not dangerous

Tiny white eyed moray eel

Tiny moray eel

Not to mention tiny:

I said tiny moray eel

In my next Diving Saga I’ll have a video where you can see how small this eel really is.

This Moray eel is quite dangerous though:

Moray eel

And not so tiny

Moray eel and Anton

And this one. The scorpion fish. If you touch the spine, you might not make it to the shore:

Scorpion fish

Thanks to Fahmi we never missed a fish hiding. This bamboo shark hides very well.

Bamboo shark

Bamboo shark

The highlight of that day was the turtle we spotted.

Hawksbill turtle

Hawksbill turtle

Thanks to Fahmi, he tried to fit both of us + the marine life into one shot :-)

Hawksbill turtle

Hawksbill turtle

That’s all for today. If you ever go diving to Tioman, let me know, I’ll introduce you to the best instructor on the island. And stay tuned for the video (that I’m making all by myself, yes, me, all by myself) and please leave your email address all the way down on the left so you won’t miss it, mmkay?

p.s. The Diving Saga continues here.

Malaysia

Penang Penang

December 26, 2013

So after a year of living in Malaysia we finally went to Penang. I know I know..
It will probably take another year to now go to Cameron Highlands.

IMG_7832

I was always wondering where is all the old and vintage and historical in KL? Well, it’s all in Penang.
And some of it is also left in Melaka. It now makes perfect sense. Look!

IMG_7841

IMG_7871 IMG_7883

IMG_7877

So 4,5 hours by car, 53 ringgit for all the TOLLs and you’re in Penang. Whoa, what an interesting town!

IMG_7855

People were saying “Eat all the food!” and rolling their eyes with the “Mmmmm” (apparently Penang is all about food). I meaaaaaan, I dunoooooo. The food was good, no doubts, the mamaks were better than those two across the office in Bangsar, but I probably need another try with someone local guiding me through the hidden gems of food spots. Like that naan place in Melaka.

IMG_7875

We wandered around and only on the second day started to understand the city.

IMG_7891

Oh, and we were introduced to Zach! The guy who paints all thise iconic murals in Penang! Woohoo, I know a celebrity :-)

IMG_7887

And now I’ll leave you with all the silly talk and let you enjoy these beautiful pictures Anton took:

IMG_7830

IMG_7904

IMG_7905

IMG_7898

IMG_7906

IMG_7917

IMG_7920

IMG_7928

IMG_7941

IMG_7939

IMG_7966

IMG_7971

IMG_7945

IMG_7955

IMG_7957

IMG_7962

By the way. There’s a subscribe form right at the bottom, so please keep scrolling all the way down, type your email address and I’ll send you an email every time a new post is up. No spam and not too often, I promise. Do we have a deal? Thanks and talk to you soon!

Happy thoughts

Ho ho ho!

December 24, 2013

To all you out there who celebrate Christmas today, wishing you a great party and all the best in the upcoming year!

Anton and I are sending you giggles and kisses and beams of joy and unicorns (and skittles)!

Merry Xmas!

Merry Xmas!

(pictures by Paulius aka All Is Amazing)

xoxo

O.

Ukraine

Kiev Street Food Festival

November 12, 2013

Meantime in Kiev.. I am currently visiting home, Anton is in DR filming Afest and I thought I might as well jump on a plane and go home for a couple of weeks. It’s beautiful! A bit gloomy, late Autumn-ish, but nevertheless beautiful.

And, oh, the food! Kiev is turning to be quite fun in terms of indie-happenings, festivals and other fun events. This weekend I checked out the 4th Kiev Street Food Festival. You see, we don’t have that much of good street food in Kiev just yet, so this event is great to showcase the variety of small companies and food makers.

It was a huge tent on a parking lot of a mall, a lot of small stalls with food, coffee, pastries of all kinds and sorts. A bit crowded, a bit loud, just perfect for the busy festival like this.

I really like the coffee culture here. Have a look at the different making techniques we saw on the festival.

Aero Press:

(these gys also had 3 others machines, as you can see on the video)

Turkish coffee:

(I still like my good old Moka pot I use as a sacred morning workout essential. If only you knew how much coffee I’m bringing to KL this time…)

And the Kurtosh Kalach – my favourite Hungarian pastry (though in Hungary they are longer, softer and you peel off the dough):

Soon there will be a food fest in KL, can’t wait to go and compare!