My Favorite Places in Southeast Asia

If you haven’t yet, check out my guest post on Lesley’s blog By the Porchlight for all the reasons you should visit Southeast Asia! Now that I’ve convinced you to travel to the region, where exactly should you go? Here are a few of my favorite places:

• The River Kwai Jungle Rafts in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. This floating hotel is only accessible by boat and has no electricity! But it was amazing. You can jump off the front deck and float down the river or watch elephants bathe from the hammock on your balcony.

River Kwai Jungle Rafts

• The Puerto Princesa Underground River on Palawan Island in the Philippines. Named one of the new wonders of nature in 2012, you can take a boat ride on the river into an enormous cave. On land, you’ll see giant monitor lizards and monkeys hanging out together and the most gorgeous green water you could imagine.

Underground River

• Street food stands in Hanoi, Vietnam. I don’t even care for Vietnamese food, but the pho I ate at one of the many tiny tables set up along the sidewalks of this charming city was so delicious. Chances are there won’t be any English spoken here but a little pantomime can go a long way. After dinner grab a beer at a roadside bia hơi joint.


• Kuang Si Falls near Luang Prabang, Laos. Best swimming holes in the world! But please be respectful of the local culture and wear a t-shirt over your bathing suit. There are tons of signs posted yet I saw so many foreigners in bikinis. Also be sure to visit the Bear Rescue Center at the entrance to the park!

Kuang Si Falls

• Beng Mealea near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor Wat gets all the hype but I preferred this remote temple that can be reached by tuk-tuk in two hours. Prepare for a dusty, bumpy ride… But it’s worth it! Beng Mealea has been consumed by the jungle and left to ruin, which to me only adds to its beauty. You can climb up and over fallen rocks and rubble. Since there are many trees, it is also much shadier than other temples.

Beng Mealea

• Phang Nga Bay Sea Kayaking near Phuket, Thailand. Definitely do the Hong by Starlight tour with John Gray’s Sea Canoe. Expensive but so worth it! Amazing guides, great food, beautiful scenery, monkeys, swimming… I also loved making krathongs out of banana leaves and flowers and making a wish as we watched them float away in the candlelit lagoon. Magical!

Phang Nga Bay Sea Kayaking

Nipah Guesthouse in Pulau Pangkor, Malaysia. This is the best hotel I have ever stayed at because of its owners. Nicest, friendliest people you will ever meet! Alicia and Anuar really went above and beyond to make our stay exceptional. This is a great place to visit if you want to relax for a few days… Read in a hammock, take a leisurely stroll to the beach, munch on banana fritters, and feed the hornbills. Walking to Coral Island during low tide is fun too!

Pulau Pangkor

• Buddha Park near Vientiane, Laos. There isn’t much else to do near this city so if you’re in the area, definitely check out this sculpture park! So many bizarre Hindu and Buddhist statues. There’s also a giant pumpkin with three levels (hell, earth, and heaven) that you can go inside. From the top there’s a great view of the entire park.

Buddha Park

• Bali, Indonesia. This island is my favorite place in the world (so far). I love the offerings that are EVERYWHERE. Balinese people are very spiritual. They believe that Bali is populated with gods, ancestors, spirits, and demons and the offerings are meant to show respect and gratitude. I saw many items presented in the offerings, such as fruit, candy, cigarettes, money, crackers, and incense.



We Want to Know Wednesday

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1. Where is your favorite place to go on vacation, and if you could choose any place to go where would you go?
The places I have visited that I loved the most are Bali and Italy. I would really like to go to Peru, Iceland, and Alaska.

there are offerings like this everywhere in Bali

there are offerings like this everywhere in Bali

2. What is your favorite hobby?
Watching TV. I watch so many shows! Scandal is my most recent addiction.


3. When you need to get out of the house, what do you do?
Go to the movies by myself. Love it!

4. What is your go to date night idea?
I haven’t had a date in awhile… But back when I did, I liked to go out to dinner or do something fun and unique (sightseeing, festivals).

Valentine's Day 2012

Valentine’s Day 2012

5. Do you have any tattoos, if so what of and where?
Yes I have always wanted one but was afraid of the pain. Finally in November I got my name in Korean on my left forearm. There will be more to come!



Sunday Stealing

1: Would you swear in front of your parents?
My mom yes, dad no.

2: Which continents have you been on?
North America, Europe, and Asia.

3: Do you get motion sickness? Any horror stories?
Not usually but I did get seasick on a boat from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi in Thailand. I didn’t puke but I came close. It was awful!

see those choppy waves?

see those choppy waves?

4: Why did you name your blog whatever you named your blog?
If was after this song, which I listened to when I was homesick while living in Korea.

5: Would you wear a rainbow jacket? A neon yellow sweater? Checkered pants?
I’d probably wear the yellow sweater.

6: What was your favorite cartoon growing up? Post a picture if you can.


7: In a past life I must have been a…
Cat. I like to sleep, eat, and be grumpy.

8: If you had to look at one city skyline for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Out of all the cities I’ve been to, I think I liked Hong Kong the best. It would be a cool place to live.


9: Longest plane ride you’ve ever been on?
14 hours from Washington DC to Seoul.

10: The longest you’ve ever slept?
I dunno… All day when I’m hungover.

11: Would you buy a sweater covered in kitten pictures? Would you wear it if someone gave it you for free?
I might buy it at a thrift store and wear it just because it’s funny and tacky.

12: Do you pluck your eyebrows?

13: Favorite kind of bean? Kidney? Black? Pinto?
Black beans.

14: How far can you throw a baseball?
Not far at all…

15: If you had to move to another country, where would you move?
Indonesia, Bali specifically. Most amazing place I’ve ever visited, and cheap!

I was not a fan of the monkeys however

I was not a fan of the monkeys however

16: Have you ever eaten Ethiopian food? Vietnamese? Korean? Nepalese? How was it?
Not Ethiopian but I have had the other three. Nepalese is similar to Indian, so it’s delicious! Vietnamese is OK (although the pho they sell on the streets of Hanoi is amazing) and Korean is my least favorite (except for bulgogi).



3 on Thursday

3 on Thursday

Tell us about your 3 favorite vacations,

or any upcoming vacations you have planned.

These are places I have been to and want to visit again!

1. Bali.
I don’t know why I loved this place so much; there are many gorgeous places to visit in Southeast Asia. But I was really enchanted by Bali: the people, beaches, temples, rice terraces. I would love to live there.

me and a curious monkey in Ubud

2. Italy.
I loved Cinque Terre and Venice. Italy is just magical. Wine is cheaper than water! And the food is amazing. I want to go back and visit the Amalfi coast.

gorgeous views while hiking in Cinque Terre

3. Mexico.
Gorgeous beaches, margaritas, Mexican food. If only those drug lords would stop decapitating people than it would be all good. I really want to visit Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead one year.

crystal clear waters in Costa Maya


The Friday 5

1. List your (current) top five favorite food dishes; include photos if you’d like.
These are my top five I like to cook anyway… Top five to eat would get trickier!

  • I always make tacos at least once a week. I cook ground pork with spicy taco seasoning, add cheese, my homemade salsa, and sour cream, and throw all the delicious ingredients together in a flour tortilla.
  • Spaghetti is the meal I make the most after tacos. My recipe for sauce is here.

  • A crowd pleaser is chicken spaghetti. Cook one pound of chicken (on the stove with olive oil) and one pound of spaghetti. Combine in a baking dish with one can cream of chicken soup, one can cream of mushroom soup, and one can of chicken broth. Top with cheddar. Enjoy the fattening deliciousness!

  • I have two go-to recipes for parties… pinwheels and Mexican dip. For the pinhweels, combine eight ounces sour cream, eight ounces cream cheese, one cup shredded cheese, and some diced green onions. Spread the mixture over flour tortillas. Roll each tortilla up, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or so. Then unwrap and slice into sections.
  • Mexican dip recipe: Spread a can of spicy refried beans on the bottom layer. The next layer is eight ounces of sour cream, then eight ounces of salsa. Top with shredded cheese and diced green onions.

2. List your top five disliked movies of all time and why.
This was a hard one! I usually avoid movies I know I won’t like (action and comic book films).

  • The Tree of Life has to be the worst movie of all time. I can’t believe it was nominated for an Oscar this year. It makes no sense and is sooooooooo boring.

  • Employee of the Month with Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook. It was just so bad. I had to turn it off after I rented it. Usually I stick it out if I paid money but it was awful! (On a related note, I loved the Dane Cook movie My Best Friend’s Girl.)
  • Made of Honor with Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan. Worst chick flick ever.
  • Bambi. I never liked it as a kid. And not because it’s sad. Dumbo or Pinocchio either for that matter. I guess I just prefer Disney movies with princesses!

  • Shakespeare in Love. Saw it in the theater in high school. Walked out of said theater out of boredom.

3. List your (current) top five favorite TV shows and why.
Hmmmmm I think you might notice a theme here…

  • Sons of Anarchy. I am in love with the main character Jax Teller. The show is really exciting, especially the most recent season.

  • Dexter. I am also in love with him! 🙂 It’s a very dark, disturbing show and also really thrilling.

  • Game of Thrones. I love this medieval fantasy show. It’s hard to describe why I like all these shows. Great plots and characters you grow attached to. P.S. I love Tyrion.

  • Homeland. It didn’t sound that interesting to me so I waited awhile to watch it. Then I got so sucked in! The first season is a mystery that you try to figure out while watching; I can’t wait to see what the second season brings! P.S. I love Brody.

  • True Blood. Just a fun, campy, Southern, vampire show. My boyfriend always makes fun of it and says it’s just arguing and sex. But I love and it. And… P.S. I love Bill! 🙂

4. List your top five favorite places to visit; include photos if you’d like.
Well, these are my top five so far…

  • Bali. Such an amazing place. Beautiful beaches and temples. Read all about it here.
  • Italy. Specifically, Cinque Terre and Venice. And the cheap food and wine. I must go back!

  • Mexico. Great beaches, ruins, food, beer, margaritas!
  • Thailand. Great beaches, temples, islands, and food! Cheap massages too.
  • The Grand Canyon. It is simply breathtaking.

5. List your (current) top five favorite songs; include video if you’d like.
Here’s the problem… I don’t listen to music currently. At home I just listen to the radio in my car. In Korea I don’t have a car so… I listen to my iPod only if I’m really, really bored. And all the songs on it are really, really old.

  • Lady Gaga’s You and I. This is the most current song I know (and love)!
  • Pink’s Sober. I’ve had this on my iPod for years and still listen to it all the way through every time.
  • Glee’s Thriller/Heads Will Roll Mashup. I don’t like either of the songs by the original artists but this combo works!
  • The Band Perry’s You Lie. The most current country song I know and love (told you I’m behind the times). I like to sing along with a country twang.
  • Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time. It’s my karaoke song (duet with Daniel)!