We aren’t full time bloggers – yet – so this time of the year is one of the few occasions we have to really make the most out of our “leave.” Actually with Lauren being a teacher and my work being mostly location independent we do have more vacation days than the average corporate couple but, nevertheless, the end of year always feels so much more like the real “holidays” than any other time of year.
Maybe because everyone else is on holiday too and not secretly hating us!
So what do we have planned this December?
Great news! Lauren’s family is joining us in Malaysia, meaning that this year we won’t spend Christmas alone. Her mom, dad and brother are all arriving in Singapore on Monday and then the fun really begins. Yes, like this Monday. #Whoop
Due to the crazy price of staying in Singapore (and because we’re “holidaying” on the cheap) we have decided that the five of us will only spend two nights here. The cost of living (and just everything) is much higher than here in Malaysia but it’s a beautiful little country and there are some cool things to do there – Universal Studios, Night time River Cruises and Safari’s, Orchid Street, Food Hawkers and an awesome Christmas market in the gardens are just a few things that come to mind.
Because we live here and know the country fairly well already we really want to spend time showing our family where we live as well as introduce them to the culture and how we live our lives here. We’ll be spending two nights in our Kampung (Village) Town of Mersing. And if the weather is decent we’ll even head to the nearby islands for a day trip, but November to February is officially monsoon season in Malaysia so we’ll play it by ear.
Our favourite city in Malaysia – will see us for three nights too and we’ll be checking out Jonker street, the Portuguese Settlement, eating the famous cendol dessert and more while we’re here.
Then, I think, though Lauren (who spent hours planning this all) probably knows better – we are off to Kuala Lumpur for four nights. Luckily we’ll be house sitting a friends apartment here so cost wise this is a winner.
That said, KL is not to much of an expensive city to visit at all – hotels are well priced and there are lots of free things to do here and we’ll be hanging out at central market doing batik painting, admiring the night time fountain shows in KLCC, going up the Petronas Towers, hitting the malls hard and who knows, maybe even visiting the Batu Caves – though they aren’t my favourite. attraction (dirty & smelly.)
is also where we will be spending Christmas so we are hoping to find restaurant that does and awesome Xmas Lunch – maybe in Publika Mall. One things for sure though – it’s going to be super fun.
After KL it’s pretty much all over for the first leg of the holidays, we head back down South and spend one night in Johor Bahru and early the next morning the “fellowship of the ring” splits up and one half heads to Bahrain and Dubai while the youngsters (us and Lauren’s brother) catch a super early flight to…
We fly from Senai Airport to Lombok and almost immediately catch a ferry to BALI! This will be our first ever visit and sadly it’s going to be a whirlwind one. We are only booked for three nights in Bali. We are hoping (ok maybe just me) to max this time out in the surf and sun. I’m thinking scooters and surfboards while Lauren is dreaming of Yoga, Spa visits, furniture shopping and Ubud wandering.
Either way – I absolutely cannot wait. Due to some silly planning and a huge #TravelFail the fellowship of the ring splits up even further as Lauren will have to head back to Malaysia on the 30th of December leaving my brother-in-law and I to roam wild in Indonesia. By “wild” I mean me playing wing-man for my younger bro for the next two nights – which we are heading back to Lombok for.
Lombok also has great surf and incredible natural beauty and Jeff and I are keen to tackle the Volcano Hike during our time here. We also hope to find a great NYE party.
I’m fully convinced we are the worst travel planners out there because due to Jeff having to leave soon after New Years, we have to catch a 6 am flight on the 1st of January out of Lombok BACK to Johor Bahru and then head to Singapore so that he can make his flight to Dubai – where he spends a day before flying back to beautiful South Africa. Since I don’t drink – I can already foresee myself carrying him and his luggage all day.
So that’s us – in a nutshell. We aren’t spreading our wings too far as the family are coming but we are incredibly excited to spend the holidays with them. Something that’s rare for travelling couples.
What are your plans this December? Are you keeping it local? Maybe heading off on a wild adventure? Maybe even going overseas and dusting off the old passport? Or have you just gotten your first passport and are ready to use it? Let us know in the comments! If you have any travel tips for us in these three countries, let us know :)
From us at The Travel Manuel, we’d like to thank you for all your support, comments, feedback and encouragement this year. We wish you Happy Holidays and Safe Travels! See you next year for more travel inspiration and tips!
Lauren and Vaughan