We are back in Bangkok this month. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Back in Bangkok AGAIN?!” Yep, back again. We needed a cheap place to land for a month in order to play a bit of catch up on some projects and still spend a bit of time exploring. We already know Bangkok fairly well so it is easy for us to take a break here without the pressure of learning everything from scratch. But, at the same time, Bangkok has so much going on and so much that we haven’t had a chance to experience yet, even in the neighborhoods where we have already spent so much time.
So it is the perfect combination of familiar and new. We know where to go for food and other services, but also have plenty of opportunities for new discoveries. Every day we end up wandering down a different alleyway or soi and stumbling across a whole new world…an organic vegan restaurant that serves its own Kombucha (Woohoo! Oh, how we have missed you, kombucha!). Or a little shop that carries exactly what we’ve been looking for everywhere all week. This city and its inhabitants have so much to offer in the way of interesting distractions from our regular life on the road, whether it is a new way to cook a favorite dish, or a fun new market, or one of Bangkok’s famous LadyBoy Cabarets. We’re looking forward to doing lots more exploring and also to slowing down and catching up. Plus, I hear you can get good tacos here. And you know how much I love tacos.
And a super big CONGRATULATIONS to one of our longtime blog followers, Susan. She is the big winner in our online contest, scoring a 90% on our quiz. Way to pay attention, Susan! Hope you enjoy your gift card.
More contests coming soon…and I promise that the next one will be a bit easier. Apparently, this one was a bit more challenging than I intended.
1. Stinger suits in Australia. We wore these stinger suits for a snorkeling trip into the Whitsundays aboard the tall ship, The Derwent Hunter. These thin neoprene suits protected us from jellyfish stings, since it was jellies season. You can read more about our trip here.
2. Big Sky and Andes, view from the plane flying into Cusco, Peru. Flying into Cusco is quite an experience. You are high in altitude, but still so close to the ground. The sky was so big! We come from the American Southwest so we are used to big skies…but this one was huge! And it was cold…the condensation in our air vents froze. As we took a sharp turn to fly down the cordillera and land, small chips of ice started to fall out of the vents into our laps. And then Cusco came into view.
3. Riding Mules at Quilotoa Lake in Ecuador. We took a two day trip to do volcano hiking in the Andes of Ecuador. The first day we hiked Cotopaxi in less than stellar weather. On day 2, we journeyed to Quilotoa. The weather and caldera were both spectacular and we quickly made the hour-long trek from the top of the caldera to the edge of the lake. Our guide tried to talk us into hiring burros to make the trip back up. “It’s much harder” he said. We didn’t listen and ended up getting tired 1/3 of the way up and hiring these burros from a nice old man. Read more about this adventure here.
4. Tall Ships Races, Sydney Harbour, Australia. Our good friends, John & Kate, took us out on a cruise of Sydney Harbour for Australia Day. It was so much fun to be on the water and so close to these immense ships as they raced past, on their way to Harbour Bridge, the finish line. Click here to read more about our Aussie Day experience.
5. Bracelets left in remembrance, The Killing Fields, Cambodia. Visitors leave these bracelets on the walls surrounding graves in the Killing Fields. They are left as tribute and remembrance for the people who lost their lives. Over 450 people were discovered in this grave alone. You can read more about our experiences in The Killing Fields here.
6. Kyle snorkeling off the beach at Castaway Island, Fiji. We took a small tinny boat out to this deserted island where the movie, Castaway, was filmed. We snorkeled and hiked to the top of the island. Click here to read more about our day as castaways.
7. View from the Rooftop, Otavalo, Ecuador. Otavalo is famous for its Artisan Market, which goes on everyday but really puts on a show on weekends. People travel from all over the world to shop here for textiles and other artisan goods. A two hour journey from Quito on the local bus, we made the trip here several times. You can read about our Otavalo experiences here.
8. West Arm Hydroelectric Power Station, New Zealand. When we toured this underground power plant as part of our trip to Doubtful Sound, all I could think was that this was totally like being in the Evil Lair of a Bond Villain. Click here to read more about our trip to Doubtful Sound.
9. Uluru, Red Centre, Australia. We journeyed four days through the desert, from the ocean at Adelaide deep into the Red Centre. Seeing Uluru at Sunset was our reward. You can read more about our epic 6 day backpacker bus tour to the Red Centre here and here.
10. Naam Som vendor on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. We stopped to buy a few bottles of Naam Som just about everyday. It’s one of our favorite street drinks. Cheap, cold, fresh, orangey sunshine in a bottle. YUM!
11. Top of Quilotoa, Ecuador. We journeyed through the Andes and over the Occidental Range to get to this breathtaking Caldera and volcanic lake at Quilotoa. Here we are at the top, just over 3900 meters. Click here to read more about our day hiking Quilotoa.
12. Sunset on Isla del Pirata, Islas del Rosario, Colombia. We spent a week relaxing on Isla del Pirata. Everyday we snorkeled and swam, then retreated to the shaded chairs of the upper lodge to avoid the midday heat. Afternoons were spent drinking beer and chatting with the other guests and staff and then watching the sunset from the bar. We lost almost all of our photos of our time there, but somehow this one magical photo survived.
13. Aoraki/Mt. Cook, New Zealand. As you make the drive along Lake Tekapo on your way into the glacial valley to the base of Aoraki, this is your view from the road. We’ve been to glaciers before, but are always amazed at the shades of blue one can find in a glacial valley. Read about our time at Aoraki here.
14. Chocolate con Queso, Colombia. One of our favorite Colombian dishes (& the most searched for post on our blog) is Chocolate con Queso. The richness of the chocolate combined with the saltiness of the cheese. Nothing beats this for a mid-morning snack, especially on a cool day in Bogota. Read more about Chocolate con Queso here.
15. Lanterns at the Full Moon Festival, Hoi An, Vietnam. Every month, on the night of the full moon, the riverfront of Hoi An comes alive with lanterns, music, and celebrations. Small children sell colorful lanterns for you to float along the river. You send one off with a wish or a remembrance as you eat a moon cake and watch it float away. Then you head off to enjoy music, performances, people watching, and good food.
16. Furgie, mascot of Gratitude, our friends’ boat on the Whitsundays, Australia. Our good friends, Amanda & Gary, took us out for a three day cruise of the Whitsundays on their beautiful boat, Gratitude. It was also their dog, Furgie’s, first trip out on the boat. She wasn’t quite sure about a house on water, and the March Flies drove her so batty that she hid in a cubby in the cabin most of the time. But she was such a trooper and so so sweet. We had the best time loving on her while we were there. Read more about our Whitsundays adventures here.
17. Monteith’s Brewery, Greymouth, New Zealand. After a disappointing day in which every brewery we tried to go to in Westport (okay, so the ONLY brewery in Westport) was closed, we headed to Greymouth the next day. And Greymouth did not disappoint. We headed to Monteith’s Brewery and enjoyed their beer sampler and lovely cheese samplers. Life was incredibly good! We hadn’t had good beer or good cheese in a while. And we even discovered two fave new brews: The Radler Beer and The Crushed Apple Cider. In a country where beer is pricey and we hadn’t had much of it in order to stay on budget, this day was a huge splurge. And well worth the money!