Recently, I was priviledged to be part of the amazing #MYUK60 Great British Adventure organised by the British High Commisioner Malaysia (BHC) @UKinMalaysia to three selected UK's charming cities - London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Me standing in front of the London's highly photographed door - Number 10 Downing Street

I am super delighted to share this story as it was indeed an eye-opening trip that grants me such experience learning more than just about tourism (which I usually does) but also an extensive relationship between Malaysia and the United Kingdom through various sectors.


#MYUK60 squad before bidding goodbye to Mr. Dean
There were five of us in this trip including Phoenix (the winner of the UK in Malaysia's social media contest), Charlotte and Mandeep (BHC Malaysia officers) and not to forget Mr. Dean from City of London Black Taxis, our amazing pilot who drove us all the way from London to Manchester and Edinburgh. Clap clap!


Oh gosh, now I'm so beyond thrilled to share this priceless experience to all of you. Let's get into it!


#MYUK60 Social Media Campaign

In September this year, UK in Malaysia has runned a social media contest in line with the celebration of the 60th Malaysia Independence Day. The contest mechanism was the participants are required to post a creative shot showcases any British connection in it be it food, history, architecture or tourism and of course it needs to be creatively captioned.

The winner get to experience this adventure that aims to explore Malaysia-UK from various perspectives such as economic, tourism and education. Not only that, the winner also able to expand network with people from all kind of backgrounds.

Now, let the journey begin! 


London

London was the first leg of this trip. After my previous visit to London last year, I'm so glad that this time around I get to explore here again (though I've been staying in London for almost three months).


First stop was Twinings Museum, the oldest tea shop in the city that is located at 216 Strand (opposite of the Court of Justice). There are various Twinings teas from daily, to exclusive and rare ones available to purchase. Besides, they also host a tea sampling experience for visitors to taste and understand the origins of Twinings even more. We enjoyed the experience where Martha, the museum staff who is also a huge fan of teas, told us a lot of interesting stories about Twinings history. I highly recommend you to drop by here and experience this, whenever you're in London.

A generous set of toothsome tea pastries served at The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods
A visit to London is never complete if you don't go for an evening tea. How about sipping a cup of aromatic tea and a bite of delectable scone? We had it in The Georgian Restaurant, Harrods. I enjoyed their wide array sandwiches, savouries and tea pastries. Their traditional baked scones were exceptionally good!


After the teas and pastries, we went on the iconic London Eye and witnessed the panoramic view of London city. Great experience and luckily the weather was just fine making most of the popular landmarks such as River Thames, Buckingham Palace, Palace of Westminster visible for us to view.


While in London, we met several successful and inspiring Malaysia-born individuals in the UK including Phil Wang, a well known comedian who grew up in Kota Kinabalu and studied Engineering course in Cambridge University. He decided to venture into art industry and chose comedian as his career. Another Engineering graduate was Ashly Nandong, who is a talented artist from Sarawak currently pursuing Masters of Arts at the Prince's School of Traditional Arts. Lastly, Rekha Kodikara, who currently holding a position as barrister at Crown Prosecution Service in London. Glad that we gained a lot of fascinating insights from each one of them.


Through this journey, I learned that there are many major Malaysian business investments took place in London and EcoWorld is one of them. EcoWorld is a property developer company that is currently working on their major project called Embassy Gardens, which is a riverside district situated in the heart of the London city, specifically Nine Elms. We even got to visit their project site. Oh man, it was massive. Looking forward to seeing it when it is completed.


We then proceed to Palace of Westminster to admire this historical architecture charmingly standing as one of London's most iconic landmarks. I usually get to see only its exterior but this time around, we managed to explore inside it and in fact, we even got to meet Mr. Jon Davies, who is the Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to talk about CPA roles for the community and the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Goverment Meeting (CHOGM) that will be held in London, next year (2018).

Photos of me and Phoenix with the Number 10 door. Kudos Phoenix for that extraordinary pose!
Oh, last but not least... we also got an 'exclusive access' to have a shot with the highly photographed door in London, Number 10 at Downing Street. In case you didn't know, Number 10 is the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister. Totally unexpected!

Note: Though Number 10 sounds like a must-visit spots in London, unfortunately it is not open for public. However, I found that there is place where you can find a door that has common characteristics with the original one. It is in Adam Street (CLICK HERE to find out more).


Manchester

I visited Manchester earlier this year and sadly that was only a layover for my trip to Wales. I went to a lot of blog posts on Manchester and were enticed to visit this city everytime I finished reading about it. We managed to explore several hot spots in this city during our 2-night stay here.

Art everywhere in Northern Quarter - the artists did such great job making most of the unattractive spots look even appealing
We had a quick stroll around Northern Quarter, a hot spot in the Manchester centre that is named as  one of the best alternative tourist attractions in the UK. Similar to the area in London called Shoreditch, there are plenty of brilliant grafitti artworks can been seen along the streets. We can't help but to continuously pressing our camera shutter and step forward to explore more and more artoworks. Besides, there are myriad of trendy caf├ęs and bars here - ideal place for meet ups, drink and enjoy some cool live musics.


Then, we visited the John Rylands Library located at Deansgate in Manchester. This Victorian neo-Gothic building serves as a library (now also known as The University of Manchester Library) founded by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands dedicated to her late husband, John Rylands. I was amazed with the interior of this super duper charming building, which I literally felt like stepping into the past. Not to forget, the massive book collections are something that you shouldn't miss. This building says much about Manchester’s industrial fortunes!


We were quite fortunate that during our trip to Manchester, apparently The Makers Market was held at the Eccles Market. It is only happening on the second Saturday of the month throughout the year which showcases a wonderful array of artworks, fahionable clothes, authentic culinary, home refurbishment and vibrant music by the local artisans.


Last but not least, we made our way to the University of Manchester and met several Malaysian students from all kind of disciplines - medic, engineering and law. It was lovely to hear some amazing stories about their experience studying abroad and things they love about studying in the UK. It inspires me even more to pursuing my studies in the UK next year, insyaAllah.

Anyway, thank you to Phoenix for tapau-ing (bringing) the super spicy yet delectable sambal all the way from Malaysia. We enjoyed it, A LOT!


Some photos of us exploring the vibrant city, Manchester.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the city that marks the final leg of our Great British Adventure. Oh dear, I am deeply in love with this enchanting city. It has never been in my visiting-soon list because you know, we always take destinations nearby for granted. I currently based in London so always look forward to some major destinations in Europe that are outside the UK more.

Through this trip, we were able to finally set our foot in this northern part of the UK - Edinburgh, Scotland. There will be a separate article for Edinburgh as I have more things to share that I've discovered when I extended my stay here for another 3 days after the trip has ended.


First of all, we felt truly honoured to be able to stay at one of the coolest hotels in Edinburgh, The Glasshouse Hotel. Did you know that this hotel is owned by a Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate named YTL Corporation Berhad? Its just amazing that many Malaysian businesses decided to invest somewhere outside the country, specifically the UK. The hotel posseses such strategic location (just a few steps away from the city's main attractions) and good-looking architecture charms (it used to be a church). I was appointed to stay at their Glenfiddich Suite equipped with complete amenities, spacious area and direct access to the rooftop garden from my room. Thanks to The Glasshouse Hotel for their wonderful service and hospitality.


We then proceed to the Edinburgh Zoo to see the Malayan Tapir. Sounds pretty exiciting right? We got the chance to meet Maya, the new-born Malayan tapir (full story here) up close. Even fascinating to know that it was Maya's one-month anniversary. I am pleased to know and see that they have been well fed and taken care of by the team. And yeah, people here will get to understand about this endagered species that is in the brink of extinction.


As the sun was about to set, we drove up to Arthur's Seat area to capture a stunning panoramic view of the city from above. It was super breathtaking. So glad that we made it right before it rained again. The pictures above will convince you how spectacular the view is.


What else? Of course strolling around Edinburgh City. We explore the city centre's vicinity, admiring the classic buildings, dined at some restaurants (even got to taste Scotland's national dish, haggis) and more. Thankfully, the weather been exceptionally great on the day we arrived. Sadly, it was raining and super gloomy during the last two days here but still we had so much fun here.

Wait for my next blog post about Edinburgh soon. The end of Great British Adventure #MYUK60.

Thank you once again to British High Commisioner Malaysia and the generous sponsors for making this wonderful trip possible. Follow our journey by visiting this #MYUK60 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to follow @UKinMalaysia Instagram account to see more of the videos I have produced!