And we’re off! Finally the day of departure has come and we’ve winged our way to South East Asia at last. It’s been an adventurous week for the both of us and while our poor hometown of Sydney soaks and gurgles under a terrible deluge that’s hit the east coast of Australia very hard, we’re sweating it out in Thailand’s humid start to the rainy season.
The weather in Australia has been particularly horrible since we left – and yes, we’re very pleased with our timing. Social media is full of images and stories of people’s homes being swept away, 7 metre waves pounding the city coastline and a multitude of power outages. We just hope everyone’s safe and as dry as possible back home.
For us, it’s been a romantic, luxurious yet oddly frantic trip. We’re working with an airline and a number of hotels while we’re here so that we can bring you some of the best tips for romantic travel in Thailand and Malaysia we can find. And so far, we’ve got some cracking stuff to tell you!
So here’s our latest Instagram Diary and travel update coming to you all the way from the tropics of the City of Life – bonkers Bankok!
I am super impressed with our seats on our AirAsia flight to Malaysia. It’s the first time I’ve ever had full lay-out flatbed seats on a flight and I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be tough going back to the normal way of flying!
I was quite surprised by how affordable getting these seats can be. You can upgrade from your regular seat at check-in for very little, so for a romantic trip or a special occasion, I’d definitely go for this.
Service onboard is very friendly and efficient, which goes against some of what we’ve heard about AirAsia flights. Looks like these guys are upping their game. And by the way, this blanket is incredibly cosy!
We’ve arrived in Malaysia and have worked our way to our hotel. It’s a bit of a culture shock for us being here (mostly because of the change in climate) so we’re taking things slowly. The pool at our hotel – the Berjaya Times Square Hotel – has the biggest rooftop pool in Kuala Lumpur.
We won’t be taking things too slowly though. We’re only here for one night and there’s so much to do!
After a solid night’s sleep, we’re out and about in the buzzing rush of Malaysia’s capital. We’ve made our way across town to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. From here – the other side of the KL City Park – it’s still quite a walk, so we’ve decided to enjoy the view from here. And then from Sky Bar in the Traders Hotel. The rooftop pool bar there is pretty lush!
We’ve got so much more to tell you about our time in KL, but everything’s going past so quickly, we’re already in Bangkok! We’re so excited to be back here – it’s been way too long since our last visit.
Breakfast in our hotel is pretty darn fine. And with this view, it’s almost unbeatable. We’re staying in the Centara Grand Hotel above Central World Shopping Centre.
We’re very impressed with this place – especially as it’s home to the first rooftop bar we ever visited in Bangkok: RedSky. We even featured it in one of our early posts about rooftop bars in Bangkok.
We’re totally in love with the Centara Grand’s rooftop pool. It’s got infinity edges around almost every side and incredible 270° views of the city from up here.
Later on today, we’ve also got a spa treatment booked in to try and massage out the stresses of blogging! 😉
Tonight has been absolutely spectacular. Today we spend exploring the local area of Bangkok around our hotel, fighting through cramped markets, eating random and delicious street hawker food and doing our best not to get run over by the horrible traffic.
As a reward, we’ve just eaten to the point of explosion in Uno Mas. On level 54 of Centara Grand is one of the most unexpected but best executed food options in Bangkok. As the name suggests, this is a (very more-ish) Spanish restaurant.
This place is seriously fine dining to the point where they have a 3-year-old dry-aged leg of jamon at the bar ready for slicing, cheeses, caviar and pates sent all the way in from Spain, and the most incredible vertical wine cellar you’ll ever see. They have ‘wine angels’ who abseil up and down the glass cellar to fetch the bottles!
And then there’s the view…
Finally, we’re back in our old haunt: Red Sky. High above the scrambling streets of Bangkok, this rooftop bar ironically flies under the radar. Most people go straight for Banyan Tree or Hangover II’s Labua, but this little number is still our favourite. It’s quiet, romantic, friendly and leans right over the edge of this 55-level skyscraper.
It’s such a shame we’re not staying here longer. But the beach is calling our names!
Hua Hin is about 3 hours southwest of Bangkok – and surprisingly close to the Myanmar border. The speed of life here slows down considerably, but the food is still as good as in Bangkok. In fact I’d say it’s better.
This restaurant – Sopa Seafood – is pretty much a corrugated barn roof and a big kitchen, but the usual signs of lots of Thai people (we’re pretty much the only non Thais here) and their entire families, very little English on the menus and the most amazing smells of food tell us this is going to be good.
Our very dear friend Andrew moved here about a year ago and has brought us to Sopa. And now he’s an even dearer friend.
This meal – whole deep fried crispy sea bass (which actually looks more like barramundi), green papaya salad, fresh clams and garlic, amazing special fried rice and 3 large imported beers – all came to THB970 (about AU$35, US$27, £18). Amazing. And incredibly fresh.
Ah Thailand. You have our hearts!
Next stop, Phuket!
This week’s travel recap
Each week we go back in time over some of our favourite travel destinations using never-before-seen photos of our travels. Here’s where we’ve been looking back on this week.
Mrs Romance’s trip to Adelaide a while back looked amazing. No, I wasn’t invited along, but that’s ok. Honest.
She stayed in the beautiful Mt Lofty House, which is pretty famous for people getting married there and it being generally just quite beautiful. Mrs R wasn’t getting married there or even going to a wedding, but she did have time to explore the grounds and discover this!
The main piazza of Siena is somewhere I wish everyone could experience at least once. It’s a shallow bowl lined with medieval buildings and this enormous tower. It’s the stage for the Palio di Siena – an annual horse race that goes around the square.
But it’s just such a unique place. A place where people meet, where swifts flock high above at dusk and where time has gone on but left very few marks. It’s very special.
For more about Siena, check out our essential guide to this heart of the Italian culture.
Venice is quite something to experience too. But many people miss out the best bits in place of seeing the popular ones. Burano is harder to get to than most places in Venice, but it’s very much worth it. The colours of the buildings and the vibe of the place all make for somewhere very special.
On the topic of Venice, last week we wrote about some of the things you should do away from the beaten track of the tourist trail here.
The ‘back streets’ of Venice are its canals, and it’s food reflects its watery culture. Here are 5 things you must do while you’re here.
Also in Italy – but back in Tuscany, the little town of Lucignano was once the stage of a magical twirl from Mrs Romance. We were here to see two dear friends get married, and it sparked an idea to write not only a guide to attending destination weddings, but also for Mrs Romance to pen an ebook on how to do wedding hair when you’re getting married overseas! Check it out!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s vagabond Instagram Diary. We’ve certainly enjoyed creating it. Make sure you check out next week’s which will be much more beach time now we’re about to hit Phuket!
Tell us how your week’s been – especially if you’ve been hassled with the Aussie east coast weather. We’d love to hear from you.