Welcome back to me…

Hello, Me! Welcome back from the Land of the Dead!๐Ÿ˜† Jesus Christ already resurrected twice since my last post. Meaning two Easter Sundays had passed already. And yet, I was sleeping like a log! ๐Ÿ’ค I guess I completely forgot I have a travel blog and that it needs to be updated from time to time. Now, itโ€™s time to wake up and resurrect this page. Ha!ha!

What have I been doing in a year and a half of nothingness? I wish I could say I was meditating, had a quiet solitude in the middle of nowhere or went to the mountains to seek tranquility like the Tibetan monks. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a concrete jungle earning a living and doing the kind of stuff normal humans do. And on the side, I was very busy preparing and planning for our family trips that’s either domestic or international travels. It was no joke planning and preparing for a family of five to travel to Europe! Especially if you need a visa to enter a country. Yes, we went there last December 2018 to spend Christmas and New Year in a far away continent. โ˜บ๏ธ Juggling work and preparing visa requirements / appointments, accommodations planning, tours / itinerary plus the numerous other activities was stressful. However, it was all worth it because my โ€œjoeysโ€ were very happy to set foot in Europe (France and United Kingdom) for the first time. Even the yellow vest protest rally on a Saturday in Avenue des Champs-ร‰lysรฉes couldnโ€™t dampen the mood for the first timers in Paris! I have many things to share but let me write about it some other time. If I can remember to write about it at all. Ha!ha!

Arc de Triomphe view. Noticed the police cars?

Tower Bridge in London

I havenโ€™t even written about my 2017 trip to Italy which was super nice, the familyโ€™s epic (super cold) winter holiday in Seoul, South Korea, the quick weekend get away in Taipei, Taiwan and here I am talking about our winter 2018 travels.๐Ÿ˜‚ Talk about fast forward!

Since itโ€™s already 2019 might as well write about our recent family holiday this month in Thailand. Better to talk about it now while itโ€™s still fresh. First of all, let me tell you that even though it was very hot in Bangkok we enjoyed our stay… a lot! Maybe it helped that the hotel we stayed in was nice. We decided to book a three bedroom apartment at Chatrium Hotels & Residences https://www.chatrium.com for our holiday. It was comfortable, the swimming pool is nice and the buffet breakfast was very good with a lot of choices. The hotel price wasnโ€™t so bad either for the accommodations that we had. Sharing some photos of our Thailand trip.

View of Chatrium Hotel & Residences

Poolside view

The trip coincided with the coronation weekend of the new King of Thailand. Thus, we werenโ€™t able to visit the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha because it was closed to the public. The place surrounding the area was bedecked in yellow which is the color of the royal family. Luckily, Wat Pho was open and it was the only one we were able to visit because the extreme heat of the sun can drain oneโ€™s battery!๐Ÿคฃ No more energy to explore other places of interest and time was limited as well.

Wat Arun view from the river taxi

View of the Grand Palace from the street

Inside Wat Pho

Buddha

Reclining Buddha

After visiting Wat Pho, we wanted to go to a mall already to have some mango shake, iced butterfly pea tea or thai milk tea to quench our thirst and just stay inside a cold air conditioned place. We were melting slowly under the heat of the sun. The mind was willing to explore more but the body was weak!๐Ÿ˜ฐ

But before the mall, we had to look for another interesting place. Due to the popular netflix show about street foods, we dropped by the street side restaurant of Jay Fai who was awarded a Michelin Star. We wanted to experience it but we didnโ€™t know you have to book in advance for a table. The booking is up to 30 days in advance! Yes, thatโ€™s how popular she is. Mind you, the place is just a normal street food eating place in Bangkok. No aircon, just electric fans and you can actually see Jay Fai cooking!๐Ÿ˜ Must be really good to be fully booked for a month.

A fully booked Jay Fai restaurant

Jay Fai in the kitchen

Since one of the agenda was to eat good food while in Bangkok, we went to another Michelin Star resto named Saneh Jaan. The place is a bit “posh” looking and unlike Jay Faiโ€™s you have to be in at least a decent attire preferably not in slippers and shorts kind of outfit. Note that it is not your normal Michelin star place where the serving is little. You can actually order and share the food. Yehey!! The Thai Milk tea is good so donโ€™t forget to try it as well if you visit the place.

Lobby

Appetizer

Pad Thai

Fried rice

Thai Curry

Restaurant entrance

Bangkok is a beautiful city. Itโ€™s well known as a shopping haven with very good but cheap food and wild night life! Remember The Hangover movie? They even have a walking tour for that. Iโ€™ll gladly pay for a tour if the guide is Bradley Cooper. Ha!ha! I hope to go back to Thailand again and explore the other places of interest. Maybe, a Phuket trip in the future.

Anyway, I hope to find more time to write and share about my travel escapades, post photos and update this page to help fellow travellers who have the same wanderlust soul as me!๐Ÿ˜Š But for now, I gotta go. Note that the photos were all taken from my mobile phone. Thus, bear with the low quality of photos.โœŒ๐Ÿผ

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Happy New Year, Happy 2018…

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!๐Ÿฅ‚๐ŸŽ‰

May all your dreams and aspirations in 2018 come true. My wish is that I could be more active in updating my travel blog. That I could write and share my travels and some other interesting things in cyberspace.

For the past three years, I welcomed the new year in a place I don’t call my home. The first two was in Japan and now I’m in the neighboring country, South Korea. They had an amazing fireworks and LED show in Lotte World Tower that we watched ftom the sidewalk. It was freezing but we braved the cold just to witness how the Koreans welcome the new year.

My tips if you are planning to experience seeing their fireworks display:

1. Bundled up especially if you aren’t used to the cold weather. Temperature drop is common in the middle of the night.

2. Eat your dinner on or before 8 p.m. Most restaurants in the area closed early.

3. Stay inside the mall while waiting to escape the cold. Lotte Mart is open and you can do some shopping if you like.

4. If you’re saving money and taking the train, buy the return ticket before you go out of the train station.

5. After the fireworks, rush to the nearest train station. The crowd is huge with all the Koreans and foreigners catching the late night train. Train will run until 1:35 a.m.

It was an experience to board the Seoul Metro earlier today with the mob of people trying to get in. It was wild but had fun even if we were squeezed silly. If you don’t want that kind of thing, you can probably take the bus or taxi back to your accommodations. If you have young children with you, I advise you take a taxi!

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Travelogue…

I literally broke a promise to myself about writing at least once a month in my blog. It’s been four long months since my last post. ๐Ÿ˜ฐ I’ve been so busy with my ordinary (work) and not so ordinary life (traveling). While I was away hibernating from writing in my blog, I was able to go out and explore. Yes, that means I traveled to near and far away places. My “itchy feet” was tired but very happy exploring new destinations this year. However, my wallet wasn’t very happy! ๐Ÿคฃ

In June 2017, I went to my dream destination in Europe. It was literally a “dream come true”! What used to be a favorite daydreaming habit of exploring Rome, Florence and Venice in my mind became a reality! Italy is I guess in everyone’s bucket list. I am not an exception. What can I say? I fell in love with the country! Ten days is not enough to explore all the beautiful Italian places. I will write about my visit there soon. ๐Ÿ˜Š

July 2017 made me do some traveling within the country (Cebu City, Philippines) and region (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). The first one is for pleasure. Visiting the city where I grew up and hanging out with friends. The second one was for work which is boring if you’re all alone.

August 2017 had me packing for a trip with the family to Taipei, Taiwan. It was a very quick weekend getaway. The country is practically our neighbor but was never in our destination list until they decided to let us travel visa free! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Surprisingly, I liked the place and will definitely go back someday because two days was too short. I can’t get enough of the delicious street food. The price is value for money!

I can’t wait to write about my travel escapades. So dear readers, just hang in there! New content coming up… ๐Ÿ˜Š

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Travel Tips for Tokyo…

I have shared Japan travel tips in a previous post but let me add some more from our last trip to Tokyo in December. First stop was always the grocery since we need food supplies to fill up the refrigerator in the apartment we rented through Airbnb (www.airbnb.com). Remember, we are budget travelers and therefore cost efficiency is important. ๐Ÿ˜„

Tip: Prior to booking, make sure the place is near a grocery store. Some items are cheaper and choices are better than the convenience store.

Grocery store Comodi-IIda


Store entrance below street level

Mini Grocery in front of the apartment


Tip: Near closing time some of the meals are already discounted up to 50% off.  Grab some to eat at your rented place or hotel. 

Maki Sushi Plates at the Grocery Store


Different Kinds of Tea


You can find different kinds of Japanese green tea at the grocery store. I always buy a box or more to give away to relatives and friends. It’s always a gift that they appreciate. I personally liked the roasted green tea. 

Tip: Choose your location wisely. Always research before you book and ask the landlord about the area ๐Ÿ˜Š Is it quiet and safe? Near the train station?

We got an apartment in Bunkyo area which is a quiet part of Metropolitan Tokyo. The train station is 3 to 5 minutes away. There’s a shrine nearby and the Shin-edogawa Park is walking distance. Restaurants and food places are aplenty. The Catholic church is also a 10 minute walk away.

Winter time view while walking towards the park


The winter view at the park


Tip: Prior to finalizing your booking, check out the area for restaurants or food markets. What we did was to use google earth to view the area. Bunkyo had good restaurants near the train station street level exits.

Tempura Place

Ramen and Gyoza Place


The go to food place ๐Ÿ˜„ Yoshinoya!


Japanese Curry House


Korean Burger Joint Lotteria


Fast food are always a happy sight for when you’re weary and tired from walking around Metropolitan Tokyo. Especially if you’re with family with growing kids who seem to be always hungry! ๐Ÿ˜„

Tip: Drop by the convenience stores like Lawson, Family Mart, 7-11. They do have instant meals that they can heat for you. Kids love the chicken kaarage that can fill their little tummy plus it’s affordable. 

Chicken Kaarage at a convenience store


You will not get hungry anywhere in Japan. For as long as there’s a convenience store! You will not get thirsty either for there are numerous vendo machines! Plus some even offered chips and sandwiches. 

Japanese Custard Cake Stall


A must try Takoyaki in Akiba area


Don’t hesitate to try out the street food stalls selling snacks like Japanese Custard Cakes. It’s a favorite of my kids and filled their tummy while walking around. Aside from the Takoyaki, of course. ๐Ÿ˜„



xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Getting Around Japan…

It’s that time of the year again in this side of the world. It’s summer time and people are preparing to escape to somewhere cold or to the beach. My social media timeline is full of travels to one of my favorite destination — Japan! It’s spring time and always a good time to visit since it’s also the Sakura season. The bitter cold of winter is no more. The gardens will be so pretty and colorful. The shrines alive with the trees turning green again. Oh, how I miss the Land of the Rising Sun!๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ˜„

After numerous trips to Japan, we finally decided to use a card to easily use their train transportation when we visited last December. Since we find the JR Pass too expensive for a vacation in Tokyo area only, we opted to get the Pasmo Card. JR Pass is okay if you plan to go around Japan. Like traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto to Osaka. But in my opinion it’s not a good deal if you will just stay in one city. You can get a Pasmo or Suica card at the airport.

Pasmo Cards


We loaded ยฅ10,000 in the adult cards and half of that amount for the kids 12yo and below. The card of the child was linked to an adult card. It can be personalized with your child’s name. The reason we chose Pasmo instead of Suica was because we can refund everything. ๐Ÿ˜„ Of course, some of the family members opted to retain the card as souvenirs or to be used for when we visit again.

Train Station going to Narita using Keisei


We used Keisei Electric Railway from Narita to Tokyo and back. Not the Skyliner but the normal train with lots of stops! If you aren’t in a hurry, you can save money by using the regular train. It will be 30 minutes longer but you can catch some sleep on the way to the city. ๐Ÿ˜Š If you are in a rush to get to the city, choose the Skyliner. It is more expensive though.

The Pasmo Card is not only for transportation but can be used to buy food at the convenience store or even in restaurants that accept it for payment. Even vendo machines accept it. Very convenient to have especially if you have children who are constantly hungry and a trip to Family Mart or Lawson to buy food is something that they enjoyed doing. My child lost her Pasmo Card with about ยฅ3,500 remaining balance when we were in Akihabara. But it was linked to my card so we were able to retrieve the balance. We just reported it to the nearest train station and with a minimal fee we got a new card and the balance intact. The vacation wasn’t ruined!๐Ÿ˜…

However, if you plan to move around Japan then you have to get the JR Pass. You will also have easier mobility and it will help to cut down on transportation cost. Check out www.jrailpass.com for more information. 

Getting around Tokyo and understanding their train network is tough. But with the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the country is definitely preparing. With influx of tourists wanting to visit the country, most of the sites are tourist friendly. There are translations and menus in English. So different from the first time I visited Japan in 2008.

I know I should post more often. To be more active in my online journal. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m really sorry blog! You have been neglected but I hope I can find time to write some more… soon!๐Ÿ˜„

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

The Love Month…

Time really flies so fast! We just celebrated Christmas and New Year not so long ago and here we are now in the month of love and romance. โค๏ธ 

February is probably the most “costly or expensive” month after December. Most especially for the men. ๐Ÿ˜„ This is the month when flowers have sky rocket high prices!๐Ÿ˜‚ When restaurants are fully booked as well as the hotels and motels! ๐Ÿคฃ 

Some say that Valentine’s Day is overrated. I don’t agree. Because we do need to celebrate love. It could be grand or simple but dating and spending time with your loved one on Valentine’s Day and rekindling the feelings you have for each other amid the chaos of one’s busy life is priceless. It’s a good time to remember why you fell in love in the first place. ๐Ÿ’– Kudos to those men who still spend so much money on flowers, chocolates and gifts. Even hardened and jaded women will probably turn soft as marshmallows to receive a flower or bouquet of flowers. Flowers and chocolates after all, never goes out of style!๐Ÿ˜ 

So, let me greet you dear readers a Happy Valentine’s Day! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’– May your day be extra special with your loved one… If you don’t have one yet, don’t despair. He or she is probably searching for you and haven’t found you yet! ๐Ÿ˜„ So open your eyes and heart to endless possibilities.

To the single ladies out there, here’s something for you!๐Ÿ˜œ 

Who needs a Valentine when you’re wearing a Valentino? ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜œ

Enjoy your celebration of love. โค๏ธ Til next time…


xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo