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Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?
I have been on so many amazing trips (34 countries); it is really hard to choose just one. So I’ll just tell you about my most recent trip… I went to Chicago in May and had the best time!! Check out my blog post about it here.

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2. What is your best idea for a girls weekend trip?
I have been on girls only trips to New York City and on a cruise to Mexico and Grand Cayman. Oh yeah, and all around Europe, Cambodia, and Thailand, but those weren’t typical girls trips. Although now that I think about it, I would recommend Southeast Asia as a great girls trip destination. Beautiful, lots of good food, and dirt cheap massages! Check out more reasons here and the best places to go here.

Kuang Si Falls, Laos

Laos, 2012

Oops, just realized the question said weekend trip… In that case, Vegas!

Sin City, 2008

Sin City, 2008

3. What is your best idea for a couples trip?
Italy! I loved it and would love to take a boyfriend/husband there one day. Eat lots of food, drink wine, chill on the beach…

Cinque Terre, 2004

Cinque Terre, 2004

4. What is the best vacation on the cheap?
Southeast Asia!! See above.

5. What is the place you most want to visit?
Peru… Planning a trip there for 2014. 🙂

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We Want to Know Wednesday

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1. Are you an amusement/theme park kind of person?
Not really… I like carnivals/fairs but I don’t care for roller coasters so I don’t want to waste a bunch of money at an expensive amusement park.

2. If yes, where have you gone? If no, what makes you dislike those kinds of places?
I have been to Disney World twice as a little kid, Carowinds and Dollywood many times, Six Flags once, and Lotte World in Seoul once. I have also been to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Dollywood’s Splash Country.

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3. Do you like to go on roller coasters?
No.

4. Does your answer to #3 directly correlate to how you are about life experiences?
Not at all… I think I’m pretty damn adventurous.

5. What was the last scary and/or risky thing you did?
Traveling around Asia by myself last summer was probably the last BIG thing… I had to take a lot of selfies! 😉

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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.

Hanoi

• 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.

Bali

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Single Ladies Link Up

Chasing Birdies

10 Things I Love About Myself

1. I am a good friend. I am thoughtful, I remember things, I make an effort, I don’t back out when I say I’m going to do something.

me and my friend Cindy

me and my friend Cindy (skiing on Tuesday)

2. I am well-traveled.

Mongolia, June 2012

Mongolia, June 2012

3. I am intelligent and doing well in grad school.

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4. I can cook and bake some delicious dishes (most of the time).

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5. I like to do things by myself (going to the movies, traveling, etc.).

but when you travel by yourself, you tend to take photos like this all the time (Laos, 2012)

but when you travel by yourself, you tend to take photos like this all the time (Laos, June 2012)

6. I love my two cats like they’re my children.

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7. I have cute toes. And a cute nose.

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8. I have an exciting life and am always trying new things.

riding an elephant was scary! (Thailand, July 2011)

riding an elephant was scary! (Thailand, July 2011)

9. I throw great parties.

Santa's Mustache Bash, December 2012

Santa’s Mustache Bash, December 2012

10. I’m fun! I will sing karaoke or be the first one on the dance floor.

Carnival Cruise, September 2012

Carnival Cruise, September 2012

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2012 Review Extravaganza: Second Quarter Recap

April:

I went to the Hello Kitty Cafe.

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I went to the Jindo Sea Parting Festival.

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I went to the Lady Gaga concert in Seoul.

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May:

I visited Gyeongju.

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I went to Changdeokgung Palace.

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I had an awesome time with friends camping on Muui Island.

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I watched the Lotus Lantern Parade in Seoul.

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I said goodbye to all the amazing friends I had made during my two years living in Korea. 😦

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I headed out on my five week epic Asian backpacking trip… In May, I visited Hong Kong and Vientiane, Laos.

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June:

Continued/finished the five week epic Asian backpacking trip which included the Trans-Mongolian Railway! I visited…

Luang Prabang, Laos

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Hanoi, Vietnam

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Halong Bay, Vietnam

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Beijing, China

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The Great Wall of China

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Mongolia

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Siberia

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Moscow, Russia

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St. Petersburg, Russia

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Thongbay Guesthouse in Luang Prabang

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Thongbay Guesthouse! Can’t recommend it enough. I booked a riverside bungalow, which was lovely. I enjoyed eating breakfast overlooking the river every day. It was so quiet and peaceful. The room itself was spacious and clean, with a wardrobe, table, minibar, wifi, fans, and mosquito nets over the beds. The bathroom was large and shampoo, soap, and shower gel were provided. The grounds were landscaped nicely with beautiful gardens. The service was excellent. As I checked in in the morning (but had paid for the night before), the owner offered me free breakfast. They also let me check out late as my flight didn’t leave until 5pm. The laundry service was cheap (15,000 kip per kilo). The hotel is not in town but they offer a free shuttle eight times a day or you can take a tuk-tuk for 20,000 kip. There were just a few downsides to Thongbay Guesthouse. There isn’t AC so the room can be quite warm. At times the internet was very slow (and it is usually turned off from 11pm-7am). And if you don’t like critters, watch out! You probably will be showering with lizards at some point! Also there was animal poop in my bathroom every day. I am guessing from the frog I heard croaking! None of this bothered me though. 🙂

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