10 Reasons Not To Miss Out On Mozambique

Mozambique is a rather short drive from SA and is becoming one of Africa’s gems. Below are reasons why you need to visit soon.

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  1. Visit Gorongosa National Park

Gorongosa, now under Carr Foundation has buffaloes, lions, and the majestic sable antelopes.

  1. Horse riding on Bazaruto

The indigo bay Island resort found on Bazaruto has boerperd horses that love to climb dunes and gallop on the long, beach on the eastern side of the island.

  1. Paradise snorkeling

The waters around Santa Carolina -the official name for Paradise Island- are warm, shallow and sheltered. The visibility is excellent. The reef is rather busy with a population of rays, reel fish, eels with the rare appearance of the blacktip reef shark.

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  1. Walk in the Lago Niassa

Mozambicans call is Lago Niassa and Malawians call is lake Malawi. A beautiful lodge, Nkwichi Lodge is built around the trees and into the rocks in the remote bays of the lake. This offers a great view of and an exotic travel experience of the lake.

  1. Experience History on Ilha

Ilha de Moçambique is a crumbling colonial masterpiece which has seen the succeeding waves of Chinese and Arab traders. You will also see the little chapel de Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, built by the Portuguese and still survives to date so do the original cisterns that get the island its fresh water.

  1. Ride the train across the North

The every day run between Cuamba and Nampula ranks as the worlds hardcore railway journeys in the world. You can buy your ticket a day in advance from the ticketing offices in Cuamba or Nampula. To avoid the overcrowding be sure to get a second-class ticket.

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  1. Dhow sailing on the Bay

Inhambane is the most relaxed and prettiest town in Mozambique. For an exotic travel experience, head down the beach, and hire yourself a good boat. Go down on the water and drift around the bay, chasing dolphins, chasing dhows and sipping coconut juice of its shell.

  1. Enjoy Piri Piri’s Pawn Curry

The stalwart restaurant café at Avenida 24 de Julho in the town of Maputo has a reputation for excellent yet simple food. Their grilled chicken, doused in the best peri-peri sauce in the world, is consistently excellent, so is their prawn curry which is renowned world over.

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  1. The beer

At the end of the war, the best beer in town was called Impala, Which had a sweet and yeasty taste. Impala has gone and now everybody drinks Laurentina or 2M and it worth noting there are very few things more satisfying in the world than a cold, dark Laurentina Preto beer on a hot day as you wait for your chips and grilled chicken, as you stare at the sea.

  1. The Gods seafood

You can enjoy seafood on the terrace of Costa do Sol, a deco art hotel and restaurant at the road out of Maputo while watching palms sway in the breeze. Make a point to have Africa’s awesome coffee milkshake as you chill on the lounger by the pool.

Join me on an exotic tour of South Africa as we bring you the best because you deserve the best. Want to know more on how you can squeeze out the best from your travels? Just askus@ladyredot.com!


 

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

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Must-know Hacks to Enjoy the Forbidden City

During the October holidays, teeming crowds turn up at the historical site for an exotic travel experience into the Satan’s pit. For most of the Beijing residents’ going to the Forbidden City is out of question throughout the holidays. Even all through the busiest of weeks, below are some tricks that can make visiting the Forbidden City more tolerable when not pleasant.

  1. Plan for an early morning visit: The ticket sales limit is 80,000 a day. This may seem like its a lot but during special exhibitions and holidays but the possibility of the tickets selling out by early on in the afternoon is very high.

(Advanced Tip: A reservation system is available online and you can book at most 10 tickets for a group except you need to have someone who reads Chinese – or you can do so yourself – and even have a payment method like Zhifubao or Alipay.)

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  1. Skip Mao: About 90% of the tourists approach Forbidden City via Tiananmen to the south. Getting here for an exotic travel experience often requires that you pass through rather long lines to get to the security checks. In order to avoid these, use the west or east entrance. Pay the entrance fee and walk into the park to the east side. This will get you to ticketing area right outside the Forbidden City main entrance. However, you will need to queue for the museum security checks so you can go inside.
  2. Stay away from the crowded area: Most visitors follow the same route right into the center of Forbidden City. Stay away from the crowded places and rather explore the interesting parts by turning right or left. When you walk along the wall going towards the East Gate, you will come to a fascinating and quiet museum of the palace architecture. Down the stairs near the East Gate as if going back towards the courtyard you will find the Literary Flourishing Hall which is a ceramic well-curated museum.

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  3. Keep away the mid-axis: Make a point to visit Cining Gong and Shoukang Gong which was home to the emperor’s mother in 18 century. This is a functioning archaeological site which has sculpture displays that date back to more than 1,500 years. This includes terracotta soldiers loaned from Xi’an.
  4. Use an alternative exit: Officially, Forbidden City is to be exited through one way that is north-south. However, the transport options outside the northern gate are restricted to jam-packed buses and trishaw hustlers. You can, however, exit from the Donghuamen (east gate) which lets out into the quieter street which has better taxi options and is closer to the nearby subway. Should you be hungry, a division of Siji Minfu- a famous Beijing restaurant and TRB Bites are located outside the eastern gate.

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  5. Remember to carry your passport: In 2015 new policies were enacted which require you to present a type of identification for every ticket purchased. The security personnel also look for lighters since it’s not advisable smoking inside the 600-old wooden palace.

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One more last tip – always ask a local for the best time to visit China or you can always rely on us at askus@ladyredot.com. If you have been to China, come and share your stories with us!


 

KallyKally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

Bangkok vs. Kuala Lumpur: Where to Travel for the Long Weekend?

In Singapore this year, we have some long weekends due to the holidays. Christmas is on Monday, which means we have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off as weekends. New Year is also on a Monday, which gives us the long Friday, Saturday and Sunday weekend.

In 2018 we still have some long weekends due to holidays, such as the Chinese New Year (which falls on a Friday and Saturday), and Good Friday (on a Friday). These holidays provide the perfect opportunity for some exotic travel to either Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, our exciting and fun-filled neighboring countries. But then, you know you can only pick one since it is a three-day holiday. There are arguments about which is better, and, since have traveled to both places for the holidays, I can be considered an expert of sorts.

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Bangkok vs. Kuala Lumpur: Food

While food is less expensive in Kuala Lumpur, if you are used to Malay cuisine, you won’t find anything new there. Food in Bangkok is much more exciting because of the many restaurants selling foreign cuisine. Also, the food is less spicy than Malayan food (unless you love spicy food, which I do).

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Bangkok vs. Kuala Lumpur: Shopping

Of course you would want to go shopping while you’re on holiday (I know I do). Kuala Lumpur has malls as big as those in Singapore, and so does Bangkok. Shopping is also cheaper in Kuala Lumpur. However, Bangkok has an edge over Kuala Lumpur because of the street markets. Bangkok is teeming with street markets that give you a variety of choices when shopping, and you can get great prices as well.

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Bangkok vs. Kuala Lumpur: Nightlife

Bangkok goes on long after most people’s bedtime. The city is also safe at night, so you don’t have to worry about staying out past midnight. Restaurants stay open late to cater to hungry people on any kind of budget. There are bars and night clubs for you to go and hangout and have fun, as well as a host of other entertainment choices for you and your family or friends.

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Bangkok vs. Kuala Lumpur: Culture

Bangkok is rich in Thai culture and history that is quite undiluted, because it is the only country in South-East Asia that never got colonized by foreigners. The capital has a lot to offer for you to experience and enjoy, from the dances to the temples to the heritage. Malayan culture is a blend of Malay, Indian, and Chinese, giving it a distinctive culture of its own. Kuala Lumpur displays Malaysian culture in all its splendor and beauty, but personally I prefer Thai culture in Bangkok.

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Bangkok vs. Kuala Lumpur: Nature

The beaches in Thailand are cluttered with civilization. You can go to the beach and see bus routes and food stands, with very little ‘nature’ next to the water. The national parks are no different. They are not secluded and quiet and free of man and his toys. You can enter a park hoping for peace and quiet, and you will see food stands, resorts, and hiking trails that are very easy and not far from civilization.

Malaysia is still untamed when it comes to nature. The beaches are still pristine and free of human intervention. The Borneo jungle is still alive, despite poaching and deforestation. The national parks are still nature-oriented, with very little presence of resorts and restaurants. Malaysia is still doing its best to establish oil palm plantations, displacing the wild life that exists in the country, but you can still enjoy nature better in Malaysia than in Thailand. However, if you aren’t so deep into nature, Thailand is the place for you.

Conclusion

Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur have their pluses and minuses. Each has something different and unique to offer to visitors on your exotic travel. While I may prefer visiting Kuala Lumpur for the holidays, you may prefer going to Bangkok. With this list of what both cities have to offer, you can choose which city best fits your style and plan and exotic travel for your 3-day holiday. Or just askus@ladyredot.com!


 

Kally Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

10 Of The Best Places To Go To Avoid Christmas

There are many places where December 25th is a day like any other. Make your own cheers this year and hop on a plane for exotic travel adventures to stunning destinations that do not celebrate Christmas.

  1. Algeria

This country has natural beauty and a rich history to enhance your exotic travel. Algiers, a busy city is a fantastic place to start your visit. The close by ruins at Tipasa, Timgad, and Djemila will enrich your experience with the country’s history. Other places to visit while here are the towns of Ouargla –referred to as ‘the golden key to the desert’ for its unique architecture and the Holy town of Beni-Isguen.

  1. The Bahamas

The Bahamas is a great destination to get away from it all; with an impressive bank balance, you can easily acquire an island of your liking. You can try out the Caribbean or the Musha Cay for variety.

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  1. China

The country has many attractions to keep your visit pretty busy. The activities will include Great wall, Beijing Pandas, bicycles, Ming Dynasty, Terracotta Army, Mau Tse Tung, rice, noodles.

  1. Iran

A visit to the country’s prehistoric ruin of Persepolis, Isfahan-one of the Islamic finest cities and the sophisticated and cultured city of Shiraz will start you off on the right tone. You can later enjoy some skiing in the Alborz and walks on the trails encircling the well known Assassins Castles.

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  1. Japan

Traditionally Christmas is not celebrated here. You can instead sample the traditional culture in cities like Nara and Kyoto. Tokyo will offer you its futuristic cityscapes while Hokkaido will amaze you with its powder snow as you enjoy the friendly and hospitality of your hosts.

  1. Nepal

For trekkers and mountaineers, Nepal is a Mecca to them and the Himalayas is just the right setting for an exotic travel. Nepal has other great outdoor activities like kayaking, white water rafting and mountain biking in the inspiring surrounding scenery.

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  1. Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea

North Korea does not celebrate Christmas, this keeps their borders closed to almost all tourists, except for few organized tours. Thus you’d be pushed to get there in time for the Promulgation day on 27th December.

  1. Saudi Arabia

To visit Saudi Arabia, you need to have a visa. You can marvel at ‘Saudi Arabia’s Petra’- Madain Saleh and later visit the world’s biggest sea of sand and origin of Arabian oryx- The Empty Quarter. Saudi’s Red Sea waters have the most pristine reefs and it’s also a scuba diver’s heaven.

  1. Turkey

Even with the spreading Western influences (like Christmas celebrations), Turkey is an alluring exotic travel destination away from clichéd seasonal revelries. Istanbul offers both striking traditional architecture and the growing reputation of its being the hippest city around.

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  1. Thailand

November to February is a ‘cool’ period in Thailand when the humidity drops. Thailand has the additional benefit of being Christmas-free. December is when most events and activities continue to take place as planned. Whether you consider Krabi, Phuket, or another quieter place, you have a choice of beachside accommodations from the available world-class resorts.

Whether you like the idea of celebrating Christmas your own special way or you just want to avoid it altogether, your only choice is to travel, rather than to huddle under the blanket at home. Come and check out with us what crazy ideas we have for your Christmas trip at askus@ladyredot.com.


Kally Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

8 Travel Tips to Outsmart the Holiday Crowds

The holidays are around the corner again, which means there will be a lot of people travelling to exotic places. Airports will be packed, flights will be over booked, and you might have to change your destination in the end. While exotic travel is something to look forward to, you won’t be looking forward to the holiday crowds that will be everywhere.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are those times of the year that you want to spend with family and friends. These are holidays that you want to make special by indulging in exotic travel. Holiday travel shouldn’t be stressful, however. There are certain tips that you can use to outsmart the holiday crowd. Outsmarting the holiday crowd will make holiday travel hassle-free for you and your family, and the holidays will be even merrier for you.

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  • Book your fights during non-peak periods
    This year, Christmas and New Year happen to be on Mondays. This means that peak travel periods will be the weekend before those holidays. To avoid the peak travel times, you can travel on the day of the holiday. There won’t be such large crowds, and your tickets will be cheaper. What is more, the airline may give a free drink in celebration of the holiday.
  • Download apps for travel
    There are apps that you can use to stay in the know about flights and traveling by road. Apps such as Waze and INRIX Traffic give you real-time info on road conditions and traffic. Others like Gate Guru and Flight Stats provide you with all the information you need on flights, including delays, departures, wait times, and so on.
  • Buy and send your gifts before you travel
    If you are taking your gifts with you to the airport, you will have to pay extra for them. Also, wrapping them is not a good idea, as they will be screened faster that way. As such, you can send your gifts ahead, or you could just get gift cards.52268403_4
  • Take your own food
    All things sold at the airport are pricey, including food. Travelling by road is no different, as the restaurants on the way also charge a lot. Plus, these places will be crowded. Pack some snacks and fruit and lots of water to enjoy on the road or on the flight.
  • Check in online to avoid queues at the airport
    If traveling during peak times is unavoidable, you should register online so that your check-in process will be faster. The TSA PreCheck program is a good one to register for: once your application has been approved, you will get a Known Traveler ID with a validity of 5 whole years.
  • Make sure your car is stocked with the essentials
    Not just snacks and water and music, but also emergency cash, paper maps, and an emergency kit. Also pack some change for the toll ways.14-15111Q53552634
  • Join the frequent flyer list
    You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to register as one. It is a common practice for airlines to over book their seats in case of people who do not come. But when they are truly over booked and still have important or (desperate) flyers to accommodate, they will unseat a couple of people. If you are a frequent flyer, you will be safe.
  • Take off earlier than scheduled
    It is always a good idea to leave earlier than you would when traveling during the holidays. This will help you to deal better with all the potential stress that you may encounter, including bad weather, crowds, traffic, etc.

Make your journey a special one without all the hassle and trouble. Especially so if you are traveling with young kids or huge family. Be mindful to check in as early as the airline will allow to avoid overbooked flights (it happens a lot during peak seasons!). If you need travel advice, come and speak to us at askus@ladyredot.com.


Kally Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

 

5 Reasons You Should Visit Almaty

Kazakhstan is a cosmopolitan place that borders the cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe. The vast country stretches from China to the Caspian Sea. It is one of Asia’s diverse cultures where Russians and Kazakhs border the Ukrainians, Tatars, Uzbeks, Germans, and scores of other cultures mix harmoniously.

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Almaty is the country’s financial and cultural center and custodian of the essence. It is also the biggest city falling short of being the capital city after the young flash rival, Astana. The town sits amazingly below the snow-capped peaks of Zailysky-Alatau Mountains. It is pleasantly green and very relaxed with fountains, fancy malls, black-windowed SUVs and busy and pretty busy boulevards. The town is modern and a sophisticated hub for booming petro-economy, one that has many surprises that make Almaty the focus of any tour around Kazakhstan.

  1. The wonderful ski spot fit for royalty

The ski resort of Shymbulak is about 30 minutes drive from the city. In 2014 the resort became famous in when Prince Harry and his then-girlfriend Cressida Bonas went skiing on the slopes. It is ritzy and the sunny, chilly winters guarantee varying good conditions and crispy cold snow well into the month of April. The ski lifts leopard-print cabins are painted so in honor of the snow leopards that are rarely seen roaming the mountains. The 4kmseries of ski lifts run up to 3180 meters Talgar pass.

  1. You get to enjoy yourself along the Silk Road

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The bustling green bazaar market halls, filled with traders from across far as Korea to central Asia gather to hawk are a fantastic way to get familiar with the multifaceted ethnic mix of Kazakhstan. The foothills near Almaty are said to be home to the apple fruit, and it is said to massive proportions. Almaty translates to “father of the apple”.

 

  1. The impressive socialist architecture and art

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Soviet War Memorial in Almaty looms vividly in front of the city’s former army command center. The city’s finest museum, Kasteyev State Arts Museum, was named after Abilkhan Kasteev-Kazakhs greatest painter. Along with the huge collection is the intriguing room dedicated to his depiction of life in the former Soviet era from portraits of the peasant life to the canvases of the fast developing landscape.

  1. The second tallest wooden building in the worldnki

Proudly standing in the leafy Panfilov Park is the Cathedral of the Holy Ascension; a mix of pastel-colored gables, a gilded dome and brightly painted tiles that rise 60m high. All built with no single nail.

  1. The Russian baths are the finest in Central Asia

The Arasan Bath’s complex in Almaty is the most highly styled bathhouse in this area. It was built in the early 1980s as a notable statement of the Soviet ambition. Pick your slippers, conical felt hat (shapka) and a towel and join fellow bathers in the fiercely hot Russian steam room (parilka). Bundles of birch or oak leaves (vyeniki) are used to thrash on each other. This wince-inducing practice is believed to improve circulation. From the parilka, you are to upturn over yourself a bucket of gasp-inducing cold water. To finish up a dip in cool plunge-pool under the domed atrium will leave you refreshed.

Want to go on an exotic tour with us? Drop us a note at askus@ladyredot.com


Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

Why You Must Visit Sarajevo In 2018

The recent traumatic history of the city is well documented but what is hardly know is the welcoming, warm and amazingly cool exotic travel destination the city is. Sarajevo is surrounded on three of its sides by mountains and it is where the twin strains of ottoman and Hapsburg architecture come together. Trains and buses rumble past bazaars and mosques, and minarets take their place on the skyline together with the Catholic spires and Orthodox domes.

Below are reasons to make Sarajevo your next destination for exotic travel

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The captivating Old Bazaar

Suspended on the steep Miljacka valley slopes, Baščaršija, the city’s old Bazaar is a smoky, hectic and noisy locality that is unlike any exotic travel place in the Balkans.

The narrow alleys burst with antique Ottoman monuments, the sweet-smelling ćevabdžinica and several street-corner cafés, and a varied assortment of stalls each selling all types of goods, from sandals and slippers to copperware and coffee sets.

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The one place with the best cevapcici in the Balkans

The legendary staple in the region can be found here. The high calorie spiced minced meat is typically served with kajmak-(a slightly sour and thick cheese) or ajvar (red pepper spread which is first roasted) and somun- a doughy delicious flatbread. Ćevabdžinica Petica is known amongst the locals as the one place with the best of these morsels.

The coffee

Bosanska kafa is served on a thin metallic tray; this bubbling coffee is served from an attractive džezva (copper vessel) into small fildžan (tumblers). Sugar lumps can be added – the regular practice is to dip the sugar lump into coffee then taking a tiny nibble to help customize the taste.

The two world-class summer festivals

During July, the old town streets rock big time throughout the Baščaršija Nights. This is a month-long music gathering from folk, rock and classical to the theatre, ballet, comedy, and opera and it is free.

Augusts’ Sarajevo Film Festival is more prestigious and bigger adding to your exotic travel experience. The festival has grown ever since its start during the 1995 siege to turn into the greatest movie gathering of Eastern Europe.

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The most captivating architecture in the Balkans

Numerous elegant monuments all though Sarajevo are proof of the 4 centuries of dominion from the east. The most exquisite is the Gazi Husref Beg Mosque and above it towers the Sahat-kula- the striking seventeen-century clock with hours of prayer marked in Arabic numeral. Also, check out the Sebilj fountain.

In contrast, the buildings down the Ferhadija Street have an Austro-Hungarian orientation – as are much more along Obala Kulina bana- an elegant riverside fare found further south.

The most symbolic building in Sarajevo is the National Library. It was obliterated in 1992, this noble neo-Moorish construction reopened in 2014. Its renovation is the most obvious proof of Sarajevo’s renaissance.

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The most important Bosnian War exhibitions

Inevitably, Sarajevo is full of sights attributed to the siege. However, the most significant exhibition is Galerija 11/7/95. It stands as a proper memorial to the traumatic events that widely spread at Srebrenica on this eponymous day. The show is presented in a potent way, courtesy of interviews, audio-visual documents and black and white imagery.


Kally
Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com