What to Pack for a Hiking Vacation

Selecting the right hiking gear is vital if you want to have an enjoyable hiking trip. In order to have a safe and refreshing hike, you need to pack enough supplies and make sure you have suitable clothing for the trip. Thankfully, packing for a hacking trip doesn’t have to be a tricky task to tackle. These next three tips will help you prepare for your next adventure.


Pack Layers of Clothes

The best way to dress for a hiking trip is to wear layered clothes. If there’s one thing unpredictable about this type of adventure, it’s the weather. The weather in the mountains can shift from hot and sunny to absolutely freezing in a matter of minutes, especially when the sun sets or rises.

Wearing layers of clothes when hiking can help you adapt to changes in the weather condition quickly. You can add more to stay warm, or simply remove some layers if the day gets a bit warm. Be sure to consider these layers when packing your clothes.

The outmost layer is the most important. Even when you’re expecting a hot day during the trip, you must always pack a windbreaker or a waterproof jacket. A pair of waterproof trousers is a good idea too.

Hiking Boots

You’ll be walking most of the time, so choose a pair of hiking boots that fits you perfectly. Women’s walking boots are easy to find these days, so finding a pair that fits you like a glove – well, like a good pair of shoes – is very easy. Be sure to select hiking boots that are light and comfortable; comfort should be your priority.

Some hiking boots have more features. You can, for instance, choose a pair that’s waterproof and dirt-proof. These features will help make the entire trip so much better since you can keep your feet dry and protected.

A Backpack for the Job

Many hikers – especially beginners – focus most of their attention on accessories and hiking gear. These items are indeed essential, but you should never forget the backpack that will carry them throughout the trip. Never – and I do mean NEVER – settle for a cheap backpack, especially when you have a lot to carry or you’re going on a long hiking trip. The last thing you want to happen is for the bag to fail you in the middle of your adventure.

When it comes to backpacks for hiking trips, I usually suggest carrying two backpacks: a 45-litre one and an 18-litre daypack. The larger backpack is for storing clothes and all of the hiking essentials. The daypack, on the other hand, is useful for carrying items that you will use frequently during the trip, such as sunglasses and your medications.

Of course, these are just the basics. You can add more items to your packing list according your needs and personal preferences. Check your bags before you embark on the adventure and be sure to carry extras of essential items to ensure an enjoyable and truly satisfying hiking trip.

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Croatian Holiday Bookings Rise Following Return of Game of Thrones Series

New research has revealed that the return of the Game of Thrones series to UK televisions has led to more people searching for holidays to Croatia, where the series was filmed. Season 6 started airing on Monday, 25 April 2016, since when holiday bookings to Croatia have also seen a sharp rise. It was also revealed that specific areas, including Dubrovnik, were particularly popular holiday searches and that many people have booked a trip to these locations. The spike started some two weeks before the series became aired and has not yet slowed down.

dubrovnikDubrovnik, Croatia.

The popular HBO series Game of Thrones seems to have had an impressive positive impact on tourism in Croatia. The series is, in part, filmed in this country. According to UK based online travel agency Sunshine.co.uk, the number of searches and bookings for holidays in this Mediterranean country have increased significantly. The travel agency is conducting a piece of research into the travel behaviors of British holiday makers, and they are trying to uncover whether the fantastical television series and travel trends are correlated.

In the two weeks before the next series of Game of Thrones returned, which was due to air on Monday, 25 April 2016, Sunshine noticed that some 3,100 individual searches were registered for ‘King’s Landing’ holidays. This was interesting because King’s Landing is a fictional place that only exists in the series. Part of this series was actually filmed in the Croatian medieval city of Dubrovnik.

Not all interested holiday makers searched for King’s Landing, however. In fact, many seemed to be well aware of where the series was filmed, because searches for Dubrovnik in particular were also up. In fact, there was a 71% increase in the number of searches for this city compared to the month before. Additionally, there was a 26% rise in the number of bookings that were made.

When looking specifically at searches for Croatia, it was found that there had been an 85% increase compared to the previous month. Furthermore, all Croatian destinations and resorts saw an increase of 31% in bookings compared to the previous month. This was specifically for bookings and searches made through sunshine.co.uk.

There were a number of other searches that were noted on sunshine.co.uk that are likely to be related to the new series. These included ‘Game of Thrones tours’ and ‘Game of Thrones Filming locations’. It seems, therefore, that the series has actually made a significant impact on the minds of people.

Additionally, Croatia has welcomed the increase in tourism. The country prides itself on its ancient history and beautiful geography and is happy to see that more people will be able to enjoy it. Now that the series has been aired, it seems that searches and bookings continue to rise, so the overall impact could be even more significant.

Chris Clarkson, Managing Director of sunshine.co.uk, said the following:

“Croatia is a really beautiful destination which is within easy reach of the UK. I’d say it’s very much still an up and coming holiday location, because it still retains a somewhat undiscovered status. There are so many small islands to explore and so much culture and history to soak up, as well as the year-round sunshine, so it’s not difficult to see what the appeal is.

“With all of this to offer and the fact the country has been thrown in to the limelight somewhat thanks to Game of Thrones and the TV show’s cult following, it isn’t going to remain undiscovered for very long. People wanting to visit should do so now!”

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5 Best Emerging Travel Destinations

Similar to clothing, restaurants, haircuts and London boroughs, the travel industry sees emerging trends every year. From city breaks to gap years to package holidays – there is always a hot new destination to check out. Here is a list of the top five hot spots to visit in summer 2016.

1. Marrakech, Morrocco

Guests enter a haze of swirling patterns, bustling souks and spicy scents on a trip to Marrakech. Top sites to visit include Musee de Marrakech, Djemaa El-Fna square, Marrakech Medina and Jardin Majorelle. You might by now have guessed that French is commonly spoken throughout the city! Be sure to take a wander around the markets to be part of the distinctive scents, sounds and movement.


2. Siem Reap, Cambodia

South East Asia is a must for most travellers looking for a life changing experience. This city is a gateway into one of the largest religious sites in the world – perfect for those looking to get spiritual. Discover the ruins of Angkor Wat, get a monk water blessing at Bayon Temple and make your way through Angkor Night Market. Nearby, the 12th century Angkor Thom royal city is another highlight.

3. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik hosts a bit of a fairytale landscape, with gothic churches and spires punctuate the skyline. This is a city soaked in fascinating European history and culture, often overlooked for Paris and London. Take a walk around the UNESCO listed Old Town, explore the palaces, discover the old city walls and – most importantly – call in at a restaurant for some delicious Croatian wine.


4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

For some South American flavour, head to Argentina’s confident capital city that has a European twist. This is home of the tango, so expect a lively night life with lots of dancing. It has also built a reputation for being a bit of a shopping mecca, so this is an ideal destination for those looking to splash some cash on indulgences. Be sure to call in at the city’s oldest bar, Cafe Tortoni, built in 1858.

5. New York, America

The concrete jungle that needs no introduction, New York sells itself to travellers everyday through TV, song and film. Williamsburg in Brooklyn is on the rise an up and coming trendy area, so swing on by for a cool cocktail in an arcade game themed bar. There are always new exhibitions on at the galleries an museums and the National History Museum never fails to impress visitors of all ages.

Of course, nothing quite beats the classics like a sunny beach in Marbella or a romantic stay in Paris. As long as you book for somewhere that gets you excited – you’re onto a winner.

Images by Martin Fisch and Ivan Ivankovic used under the Creative Commons license.

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To boot or not to boot

I recently got an invitation to co-exhibit with Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency (who also represents me in licencing my artworks) in October 2013 at Frankfurt, so I jumped at the chance and took up a booth! I know its crazy; it’s like an ant trying to march alongside with elephants; but this is a way to licence my artworks. I know the chances of getting deal/s might not be on my side but at least I can promote my work internationally. I am going by the name of this blog: emilayusof.com!

Anyway, work aside.  Am hoping to steal some times to visit places that I missed visiting last year, i.e. Goethe House, museums along River Main as well as another half part of Palmengarten. And yes, the zoo!

shoes1Me in Frankfurt last year. 

I took a note last year that I have to get a pair of boot if I go again. This is because I cannot stand the weather. Typical kampung woman like me cannot stand 20°C (high) to 10° (low) last year and my foot and ankle got numb from walking in the weather. I actually went looking for boots recently but could not find anything suitable for me as I have very wide feet. I cannot wear hard pointy sturdy original leather shoes or boots as it kills me and I can only wear those from soft materials like above picture. And guess what? I found the type that I want at Zalora Malaysia! I never thought that they have it until I went surfing the website. Look at these very comfortable boots from Celcius at Zalora Malaysia:


Nice, right? All are made from faux leather except for the light brown which is made from PU leather. Faux leather is a fabric that looks like leather, but is actually made out of other materials. It’s commonly used to make a wide range of products, including garments and shoes while PU leather is made by coating a fabric like cotton or polyester with a flexible polymer and then treating it to look more like animal hide. PU is breathable and I most likely to choose the light brown but I guess faux leather is good too.

So which one of these boots do you think is the best? I don’t know which color to choose.  I like black but the brown one seems nice also. How about the pretty pink one? You know I don’t really go for pink but that pink is quite nice and not too striking.


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Fit in more, hand baggage now 7kg


Last February, Malaysia Airlines increased its checked baggage allowance by 10kg. Now, the weight limit for hand baggage is also up, from 5kg to 7kg. You are allowed to carry on board one piece of hand baggage for Economy Class, and two pieces for First and Business Class. Please take note that the size of each piece should not exceed 56cm x 36cm x 23cm.

In addition to the 7kg hand baggage, you may also bring either one of the following items:
• notebook/laptop briefcase
• camera bag
• binoculars bag

You are also allowed one small handbag and walking stick.

If you are travelling with an infant below 24 months old, you are allowed an additional:
• bag containing baby food and nappies, weighing not more than 5kg
• carry-cot

Source credit: Malaysia Airlines (with permission)

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Em’s Travel Diary – my own column!!

This year has been great so far for me and I am happy that I am given a chance to write and illustrate in a spread column (2-page) in Gaya Travel magazine. I can never imagine, in a thousand years, that this will be happening.

It all started when a friend, Rayyan Haries, tweeted me about wanting to feature my artwork on a cover of a magazine; Gaya Travel. I later I set an appointment with him and met with the Creative Director, Sharm, and we discussed about what he had in mind for the magazine’s new look and feel. I showed some of my artworks online and out of spontaneity, Sharm offered me a spread in this magazine to write and draw. Like seriously?

Of course, I’ll be crazy not to accept it…so I said yes! Truly happy and I am all thankful to Rayyan and Gaya Travel team!

And my current blog header is to mark my first journey being a columnist.

Here’s a snapshot of my column.



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Theme River Cruises with Avalon Waterways

Well-heeled and seasoned Free Independent Travellers (FITs) expect first-class touring, outstanding customised itineraries, excellent accommodation, cultural experiences through cuisine or the arts and “unexpected discoveries” – all without any hassle.

Now Malaysians can truly expect all that through themed river cruises deep into the heart of the European continent transporting them along with their accommodation as they wake up each morning to a new destination. This is now possible through Avalon Waterways, the global leader in river cruising. It is part of the Globus family of brands which has just appointed Sedunia Travel as its General Sales Agent in Malaysia.


Madam Teoh Leng Lan, Executive Director of Sedunia Travel, is confident that Malaysians will take to river cruising like “a duck to water”.

At a media briefing to announce their new and exciting products for Malaysia, Madam Teoh said that Malaysians’ favourite long haul destination is Europe, hands down.  This sentiment mirrors that of Globus’ Sales across Asia last year when almost 90% of sales were for packages in Europe.

Europe’s appeal is that it’s an ever-green destination. One can visit in each season:  spring, summer, autumn or winter, thus a different experience each time.

River cruises offer a different perspective from conventional travel.  Just imagine cruising along The Rhine, The Danube or rivers in France, you can expand your wine appreciation skills, enjoy jazz festivals, extend your culinary skills appreciation or waltz to a symphony of destinations,” Teoh added.

Ray Smith, the GSA Business Development manager of Globus Family of Brands listed the benefits of river cruising versus ocean cruising: view from the window constantly changes, spend time in port every day, rooms offer more comfort than ocean cruising as every cabin has a view amongst others.

With smaller groups on Avalon Waterways, you’ll get more attention from staff, and there’s no queue at dinner times.  You arrive straight in town – no long transfers from the port to the sights.  It’s a relaxed pace,” said Smith.

And, best of all,” he added with a twinkle, “No seasickness!

Avalon Waterways are running a limited availability promotion on the Tulips of Northern Holland, Tulip Time Cruise, Balkan Discovery and Capitals of Central Europe. If you book the current promotional cruises, you can fly for free to your destination. The offer ends once all the cabins have been sold.

Sedunia Travel are launching a consumer competition on January 8th with up to RM100,000.00 worth of prizes to be won, including a Cosmos trip for two with return Emirates flights.

Sedunia Travel, one of Malaysia’s Top Five Corporate Travel Agencies has a strong base to market the Globus Family of Brands products and a user-friendly website.  Log on to www.seduniatravel.com for further information.

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Celebrate Aidiladha with National Geographic Channel

In conjunction with Hari Raya Haji, National Geographic Channel will showcase documentaries highlighting the celebration for three consecutive days, from 25-27 October 2012 exclusively on National Geographic Channel (Astro Ch 553) at 10.00pm.

Aidiladha celebration on National Geographic Channel starts with Inside Mecca on 25 October 2012 at 10.00pm. Inside Mecca tells the epic story of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city, made by millions of devout Muslims each year. It is not only a grueling trek- it is the spiritual journey of a lifetime.

This hour-long documentary follows the pilgrimage of three Muslims, a pilgrim from our very Malaysia, America, and Africa,as they make their way through the millions of pilgrims in order to perform the essential rituals of their faith. National Geographic Channel brings you unprecedented access to several dramatic rituals including the spectacular circling of the Ka’aba and , gives an inspiring insight into a three-day ritual that is both a spiritual and physical marathon.

Meanwhile, the Legacy Of Prophet Muhammad will air in two parts. Part One will be shown on 26 October 2012 followed by Part Two on 27 October 2012. Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet tells the story of the 7th century prophet who changed world history in 23 years, and continues to shape the lives of more than 1.2 billion people.

This documentary creates a lively, thorough, and honest portrait of Muhammad, the man and the prophet. It takes viewers not only to ancient Arabian sites where Muhammad’s story unfolded, but into the homes, mosques and work places of some of the world’s seven million Muslims to discover the many ways in which they follow Muhammad’s example. Stunningly shot on film throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the US, this high-end feature-length documentary chronicles the life of one of the most influential men in history

Don’t forget to watch both Inside Mecca and A Leader’s Legacy: Prophet Mohammad Part One and Two from 25-27 October 2012 at 10pm exclusively on National Geographic Channel (Astro Ch 553).

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha!

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