Cambodia is super accessible from Thailand and was near the top of our Southeast Asia travel bucket list.  So when my parents offered to watch Jellybean for a few days so the hubby and I could go away, we happily accepted their offer.  Quickly we decided Siem Reap would be the perfect place for our ‘toddler-free’ vacation.

Tip: If you don’t get a tourist visa prior to arrival (which isn’t necessary you can get one at the airport prior to customs), bring a passport photo with you.  If you forget the photo, don’t fret they will make a copy of your passport photo for an additional fee.

We stayed at The Golden Temple Hotel and I would highly recommend it!  The price point, location, great pool and friendly staff made for an excellent stay.  Not to mention our room rate included daily buffet breakfast, one set dinner at the hotel restaurant, free 60 minutes massage, daily one hour cocktail reception at Sky Lounge, and pick-up/drop-off at Siem Reap Airport.

GoldenTempleHotel_Cambodia

Delicious welcome drink & snack.  The banana chips … gah, to die for!!

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Breakfast buffet (above) & hotel entrance (below).

GoldenTempleHotel_Cambodia-2

Day 1: Touring the Angkor Complex

We decided to splurge and hired a tour guide to take us through the Angkor complex.  It was absolutely the right call.  The tour included a driver, car with AC, water and a guide who spoke perfect English.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable and we learned a ton about Cambodia, the temples as well as the unrest in the region.

Tip: Bring light weight pants with you or plan to buy the ‘elephant’ pants before making your way to the temples.  Conservative wear is required.

South Gate Entrance to Angkor Complex - 2 Day travel guide of Siem Reap, Cambodia | Life's Tidbits

Bayon temple - 2 Day travel guide of Siem Reap, Cambodia | Life's Tidbits

Bayon temple {above} was probably our favorite of all the temples.  Surprising, I know … everyone’s favorite seems to be Angkor Wat.  Does the location in the picture below look familiar?  It might if you’ve seen Lara Croft: Tomb Raider!  Ta Prohm has so many trees growing over the temple.

Ta Prohm temple featured in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - 2 Day travel guide of Siem Reap, Cambodia | Life's Tidbits

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia - 2 Day Travel Guide | Life's Tidbits
The tuk tuks are definitely different in Cambodia than Thailand.  Many of the tuk tuk drivers were chilling in their hammocks while their patrons toured the temples.  Must admit the idea of hanging a hammock for a little nap was pretty nifty!

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia - 2 Day Travel Guide | Life's Tidbits

And, the grand finale of the day was this perfect view of Angkor Wat!

We had dinner at the Chanrey Tree restaurant.  Although it was walkable from our hotel, we chose to take a $2 tuk tuk ride there instead {we were pooped from all the walking we did that day}.  The food was really good and the restaurant ambience was cool.

Day 2: Touring Angkor Complex, Circus & Night Market

It was surprising to me the sheer number of temples in the complex.  And, I would love to have seen how these large temples were built and decorated during a time when modern technologies weren’t available.

SiemReapCambodia-9

SiemReapCambodia-10

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Banteay Srei temple is a bit of a drive from Angkor Wat, but worth the trip.  The craftman’s ship is unbelievable!

Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia - Banteay Srei temple. 2 day travel guide of Cambodia | Life's Tidbits

Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia - Banteay Srei temple. 2 day travel guide of Cambodia | Life's Tidbits

When we hit our limit with the temples we headed back to the hotel to spend a few hours pool side.

Where to stay in Siem Reap , Cambodia - Golden Temple Hotel. 2 Day Travel Guide | Life's Tidbits

Where to stay in Siem Reap , Cambodia - Golden Temple Hotel. 2 Day Travel Guide | Life's Tidbits

The Phare Circus was fabulous and if you have time something worth seeing.  Tickets can and should be purchased online ahead of time.  We had the tuk tuk driver dropped us off at the night market on the way back from the circus.  We purchased some baby and toddler-sized elephant pants, which I haven’t been able to locate in Bangkok for some strange reason.  My favorite find of the night market was a canvas wrap painting of Angkor Wat, which is now hanging in our living room!

It took so much restraint not to inundate you with more pictures from our time in Siem Reap.  We had an excellent vacation and Cambodia is absolutely worth the trip, especially if you are already in Southeast Asia.  And, I must admit, I was glad we didn’t bring Jellybean along on this trip.  Between the heat, steep steps, uneven footing and all the walking it was not a toddler friendly vacation.

Have you been to Cambodia?  If so, what was your favorite part?

Signiture_Nicole

 

 

 

Best of Worst
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Mother’s day is right around the corner and somehow with the lack of seasons in Bangkok it has crept up on me, just like all the other holidays since our move.  I’m looking forward to a low key Mother’s Day with the hubby, Jellybean and the fur baby.  If you are looking for a hilarious 1st Mother’s Day check this story out.

As a child I remember heading to the book store early Mother’s Day morning with my father.  We would walk around the store, pick out a book, a card and buy some flowers before heading home.  It wasn’t until years later I found out my mother preferred my sister and my handmade gifts or really anything other than a book as a gift.  Sorry Mom, I promise no book for you this year!

Whether looking for a gift for your mama, mom-in-law or suggestions for yourself here are a few things I love or wouldn’t mind receiving on Mother’s Day. :)

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Earring // Because let’s be honest a little bling bling never hurt anyone!

Zella Headband // Super comfy headband and it goes perfectly with live in leggings!

Mama Bear Sweatshirt // This was what Jellybean got me for my second mother’s day.

Personalized Calendar // My go to give for my mom.  She loves the personalize pictures and I enjoying picking out my ones favorites from the past year.

Makeup Brush Holder // Classy, decorative and functional.

Massage and/or a Mani & Pedi  // Pampering and a little mommy alone time is good for the soul.

Canvas Boat Bag // Us Mama’s are always toting around a bunch of stuff.

What are you go to Mother’s Day gifts?

Signiture_Nicole

Happy Friday … hope you had a great week!

A couple weekends ago we went to Cambodia for a few days {more details to come soon}. It was amazing and our first couples vacation since Jellybean was born.  While we missed her terribly it was amazing to explore Siem Reap just the two of us!  I’ve only just begun really looking through the 500+ photos I took, but the one of the Buddha faces at Bayon Temple immediately caught my eye.

Bayon, Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Just recently vacationed here and it's absolutely stunning .

Some current favorites …

After becoming very frustrated with slipping and sliding on the slick streets of Bangkok I purchased these flip flops.  They have traction on the bottom, arch support and made from yoga mats.  Loved them, purchased a pair for the hubby and he loves them too!

If I had a little boy I would by him this driving cap.  It’s so dapper.

New recipe on the books for dinner soon is lemon chicken risotto.  If lemon in all recipes is wrong, then I don’t want to be right!

I really want to buy this dress in savilla abstract print, but it’s currently out of stock in my size.  Pout. And, speaking of clothes, how cute is this swimsuit.  If I thought I could pull it off I would have already pressed purchase, it’s crazy affordable.

Easter is right around the corner, which doesn’t seem right to me.  But honestly, what do I know?  I live in a place where the seasons are hot, hotter and hottest so holidays seem to just sneak up on me as of late.  THIS is how you hard boil a ton of eggs at once.  Making a million easter eggs just got a little easier … your welcome. ;)

This post on why maternity leave isn’t a vacation.  Sorry, but YES! #SorryNotSorry

What are you loving this week?  Hope you had a excellent weekend!

Signiture_Nicole

I figured our first trip as expats in Bangkok would be to someplace else in Thailand.  Maybe Krabi, Phuket or Chiang Mai, however we ended up going to Tokyo instead.  The cool weather in Japan was a welcome change from the humidity and heat we were experiencing in Bangkok.  Not to mention the fact there are plenty of sidewalks in Tokyo, which makes for easy stroller rides.  Oh yes, I’ve become one of those people who partially judges their trips based on how toddler friendly they are!

The flight from BKK to HND was about six and a half hours.  And while this may seem like a daunting flight with a toddler it was a total breeze.  I’m fairly certain we used up all of our ‘good travel karma’ on this trip … or maybe it was a gift for being good troupers on the trip from DC to Bangkok.

Either way I’m super thankful for Jellybean’s impeccable behavior both on the way there and on the way home.  She spent most of the time on the flight playing with her apps on the iPad or watching Mickey Mouse Club House.  Our family rule is there is no limit to screen-time or snacks on a flight.  Happy toddler = happy parents AND other passengers on the plane.

FlightToTokyo

After arriving in Japan we bought a sim card for our phone and headed to the train.  We’ve been told Tokyo has a very easy train system and navigating to the hotel should be fairly easy.  Ummm, THIS doesn’t look so easy to me …

Tokyo, Japan Subway/Train Map

Luckily, with a little help, we were able to navigate to our hotel.  If we go to Tokyo again I am taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel.  Trucking a toddler and multiple bags up and down stairs to transfer lines (there are limited escalators/elevators) was a bit much.

Tip:  Invest in a SIM card and data plan.  We didn’t get a voice or texting plan.  Just the data plan, which came in handy for navigating the city and looking up places to eat.  

Here’s what we did while we were in Tokyo, which for the most part was very toddler friendly!

Things To Do In Tokyo, Japan with a toddler | Life's Tidbits

Imperial Palace

This is the is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan.  The interesting part about it is you can’t actually go in the palace nor can you get close to it.  The palace looks beautiful from a far and the surrounding park make it worth a visit.

ImperialPalace

Ryogoku Kokugikan – Sumo

Sumo was a tad bit slower than I thought it would be.  There was a lot of walking around each other and squatting.  My favorite part was when Jellybean kept screaming “go baseball! go baseball!”.  My kid cracks me up … apparently in her mind all sports are baseball.  Since she’s wasn’t even two we will give her a pass, but as her mother I plan to tell this tidbit for FOREVER!  And, that includes at her wedding.

Ryogoku Kokugikan - Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo Japan

Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office

This was pretty cool though I didn’t have the chance to enjoy it at much as I would have liked.  Jellybean was running around like a mad woman.  Despite trying to get her to look at all the buildings and the skyline her attention only lasted a few seconds.  After catapulting herself out of my arms and onto the floor she was off to the races.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office

Akihabara – ‘Times Square’ of Tokyo

It was cool to watch the crowds cross the street in different directions.  Many other tourists were also waiting for their turn for a photo opt, so I’m pretty happy with how this picture of the hubby and I turned out!

Akihabara - 'Time Square' of Tokyo, Japan | Things to do and see in Tokyo

Ueno Zoo

The write up in the travel book described this zoo a kind of ‘sad’.  I would have to say I agree.  The cages were somewhat small and the animals didn’t seem happy, so to speak.  That said Jellybean and I did have a good time.  She was ecstatic to see the elephants and the rhino was probably her favorite.  The rhino love was probably a result of one of her favorite bedtime stories, I Know a Rhino.  If you don’t have kids, I would suggest skipping the zoo.

Ueno Zoo Rhino in Tokyo, Japan

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Absolutely beautiful place.  We had a great time walking around and taking in the scenery.  It was the perfect place to take a toddler who loves to run free and you are still able to take in the sights.

Shinjuku

Asakusa / Senso-ji Temple

The day we went to see Asakusa and the Senso-ji temple it was gloomy and started to down pour as we were heading back to the train.  Despite the dreary weather the place was packed with tourists and luckily didn’t take too long to tour.

Asakusa

Asakusa-2

Have you been to Japan?  Where else in Japan would you recommend visiting?

Signiture_Nicole

Mummascribbles

Bangkok is a large city and it takes a little while to figure out how to navigate around.  Jellybean and I have gotten really good at riding the BTS within the first few weeks of arriving in Bangkok.  It’s probably our most frequently used method of transportation, second is either a taxi or good old fashion walking!

Whether you are moving to Bangkok or just visiting I hope this transportation guide will help you get around Bangkok a little bit easier.

Bangkok Transportation Guide, Tips for traveling in Southeast Asia | Life's Tidbits

TAXI

Taxing is fairly affordable with the meter starting at 35 baht and then a couple of baht every hundred meters.  That said there are a few challenges to taking a taxi.  The first and foremost is the traffic.  The second is many drivers don’t know where things are.  If you give them the name of a street and a soi, you will arrive at the cross roads and the driver will look to you for directions to a specific place.  When we first moved here I had to use GoogleMaps to navigate through the city.  At the time this was very frustrating, but now I know how to get to my destinations and the taxi drivers are more than happy to go whatever route I ask.

TIP 1: ALWAYS, ALWAYS drive with the meter on. If the taxi driver tries to negotiate a price you will most likely overpay.  For example, I have taken a taxi to my daughter’s preschool enough times to know it is usually 50 baht, give or take.  Taxi drivers will often tell me it’s 100 baht {I’ve even been quoted 200 when there’s traffic} … I know that’s not a good or fair price and I wave them on their way.

TIP 2: Carry small bills and/or change with you.  Taxi drivers won’t have change for big bills like 500 or 1000 baht.  On more than one occasion I’ve had them tell me they don’t have change for 100 baht, which can be pretty frustrating.  I’ve made a habit of always having a some 20s with me when I plan to take a taxi.

MOTORBIKE TAXI

Motorbike taxis are cheap and quick.  The fare should be negotiated prior to your ride.  During rush hour motorbike taxis are a great alternative to taxis.  They easily get through between the cars and tend not to sit in traffic.  Be careful to keep your extremities and belongings close to you … and hold on tight as the drivers go quickly between the cars.

TUK TUK

Tuk Tuks are mostly used by tourists or locals to transport their goods from/to a market.  The fare will need to be negotiated with the driver.  Despite not having AC, like the taxis, and aren’t as easily maneuvered through traffic, like the motorbike taxis, tuk tuks tend to be more expensive.  They will likely overcharge you and as a result we rarely use tuks tuks.  Beware of the scams … if they offer you a cheap day tour you will likely be taken to many of their friends’ shops, for which they likely receive a commission for each person they bring!

BTS (Bangkok Transit System)

Also known as the Skytrain.  This is the mode of transportation we use most often.  The fares are extremely reasonable and fairly easy to navigate as well.  The trains are very clean and after a long walk the AC feels amazing!  They have single journey tickets, daily tickets and monthly subscriptions.  If you plan to be in Bangkok for a while or ride the BTS a lot I would recommend purchasing a Rabbit card, which can be topped up with money as needed.  This way you don’t need to queue up for buying tickets for each ride.

MRT (Mass Rail Transportation System)

Similar to the BTS, one can purchase a single journey tickets, 1 day, 3 day and monthly passes.  The MRT also has stored value cards that can be purchased for those living in or spending more time in Bangkok.  It’s also worth noting that the MRT will take you to places like the Chatuchak Market.

BUS

I have yet to take a bus in Bangkok.  As far as I can tell it’s not very straight forward and the bus schedule is often unreliable. As a visitor, and even as a Bangkok resident, it might be safer to stick to the other transportation methods available in Bangkok.

BOATS

There are several types of boats running up and down the Chao Phraya River.  There are express boats, river taxis, long tail and more.  The long tail boats are definitely the ‘fun’ way to travel the river, but some of the other boats might be a better fit depending on where you are going.

So there you have it.  A wide variety of transportation methods to get you where you want to go in Bangkok.  Despite the variety, I must admit there are days I truly miss my car!

Signiture_Nicole

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