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Scuba Diving in Pattaya, Thailand

Pattaya Dive Centre - Pattaya, Thailand

For years, friends of mine have been encouraging me to try scuba diving. I have always been hesitant – my first love is whitewater kayaking and that sport dominates most of my spare time (and money!). With over a month remaining until our kayaks arrive in Thailand by sea freight, I finally gave scuba diving a try. Continue reading Scuba Diving in Pattaya, Thailand

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Beyond the Fair – Fast Train from Guangzhou to Macau, China

The Parisian Macao - Macau

If you have previously explored Guangzhou (see 5 Spectacular Things to Do in Guangzhou and 5 More Things to Do in Guangzhou), Macau is a worthy side trip between sessions of the China Import and Export Commodities Fair. If you time your travel to avoid the busiest border crossing times, the trip takes about 4 hours from your hotel in Guangzhou to your hotel in Macau. Continue reading Beyond the Fair – Fast Train from Guangzhou to Macau, China

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Hidden Gem: Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park, Thailand

Tham Than Lot Yai - Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park, Thailand

Located 97 kilometers north of Kanchanaburi, the 5 kilometer in-and-out hike in Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park (also known as Tham Than Lot National Park) is one of our favorite hikes in Thailand. The trail is not too long or too difficult – it is a perfect relaxing and energizing nature hike. Continue reading Hidden Gem: Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park, Thailand

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The Swimming Monkeys of Samut Songkhram

Swimming Monkeys of Samut Songkhram - Thailand

This is a fantastic and unique day trip that is only 94 kilometers southwest of Bangkok (measured from Democracy Monument).

Feeding the monkeys bananas and seeing them swim was tremendous fun! The scenery was beautiful, and it was hard to imagine that, just a couple of hours ago, we were in the big concrete metropolis of Bangkok… Continue reading The Swimming Monkeys of Samut Songkhram

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Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand

Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand
Wat Mahathat

After visiting the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, we headed north to Old Sukhothai to continue our exploration of the ancient ruins of the Sukhothai Kingdom. Sukhothai, recognized as Thailand’s first capital, was the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1238 to 1438. Continue reading Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand

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Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, Thailand

Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, Thailand
Wat Phra Kaeo

Our 12 Days in Myanmar (Burma) trip whetted our appetite for the intriguing history of the centuries-long warfare between Burma and Siam. Once we returned to Bangkok, we planned a quick road trip to Kamphaeng Phet and Sukhothai to explore the ruins in the UNESCO World Heritage Historical Parks located in each city. Continue reading Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, Thailand

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12 Days in Myanmar (Burma)

Inle Lake, Myanmar

We were very excited to visit Myanmar. We were especially excited to visit a friend from Yangon that we had met in 2014 while traveling in Vietnam. I had originally wanted to take the slow train from Yangon north, but time restraints made flying a much better (if less adventurous!) option for this trip. We planned a 12-day, 11-night itinerary:

  • 2 days in Yangon
  • 3 days in Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake)
  • 4 days in Bagan
  • 1 full day riverboat trip from Bagan to Mandalay
  • 2 days in Mandalay

Continue reading 12 Days in Myanmar (Burma)

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Hiking Syue Mountain – Taiwan’s Second Highest Mountain

Syue Mountain, Taiwan

After our last trip to Taiwan, when we said that we wanted to return and tackle some of the 3,000 meter peaks – we meant it! We narrowed our choice down to two mountains: Jade Mountain (3,952 meters / 12,966 feet) and Snow Mountain (3,886 meters / 12,749 feet). Jade Mountain is the tallest mountain in Taiwan, Snow Mountain is the second tallest. Continue reading Hiking Syue Mountain – Taiwan’s Second Highest Mountain

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Hua Hin, Thailand – Rainy Season Plan B!

Marrakesh Resort and Spa - Hua Hin, Thailand

We originally planned to drive down to Koh Samui for a 7 day visit, but the weather was not cooperating with us! Rain was in the forecast every day, much of it very heavy. Not only would that make the island stay less pleasant, the drive could be treacherous. Continue reading Hua Hin, Thailand – Rainy Season Plan B!

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Beyond the Fair – 5 More Things to Do in Guangzhou, China (Spring Visit)

Canton Fair - Guangzhou, China

Having attended the China Import and Export Commodities Fair in October (Beyond the Fair – 5 Spectacular Things to Do in Guangzhou, China), I was excited to return in April and to have an opportunity to explore even more of this exciting city. Continue reading Beyond the Fair – 5 More Things to Do in Guangzhou, China (Spring Visit)

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Multiple Currency Tracking – GnuCash Free Accounting Software

GnuCash Free Accounting Software

Looking for a free, double-entry accounting software package that easily handles multiple currencies? GnuCash fits the bill! Designed for individuals and small businesses, GnuCash is open-source software designed as a free alternative to programs such as Quickbooks, Peachtree, and Quicken. Continue reading Multiple Currency Tracking – GnuCash Free Accounting Software

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Beyond the Fair – 5 Spectacular Things to Do in Guangzhou, China

Canton Fair - Guangzhou, China

If you are in Guangzhou, chances are that you are attending the famous, twice yearly Canton Fair. The China Import and Export Commodities Fair has been held since 1957 and is the largest trade fair in China. It has the largest assortment of products, the largest attendance, and the largest number of deals made – it is huge! Continue reading Beyond the Fair – 5 Spectacular Things to Do in Guangzhou, China

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Taipei, Taiwan – Easy Access Day Hikes

Taipei, Taiwan - Easy Access Day Hikes

Taiwan has one of the highest densities of tall mountains in the world and is famous for its 100 Peaks list. The list is of the 100 best peaks over 3,000 meters and is used to promote high-altitude hiking. In fact, there are over 260 mountains with peaks over 3,000 meters in Taiwan! Continue reading Taipei, Taiwan – Easy Access Day Hikes

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Khao Lak, Thailand – Off-season Getaway

Nang Thong Beach - Khao Lak, Thailand

Southern Thailand’s famous beaches are some of the finest in the world. We wanted to visit Southern Thailand’s Phuket and Phang Nga regions with their abundant sandy beaches. We started planning our trip by monitoring airlines for special deals, but it always seemed that when we tried to snag one, it was too late. We started to wonder if it was even possible to get one… Continue reading Khao Lak, Thailand – Off-season Getaway

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Trip Tip: Aggressive Dog Self-defense

 

Aggressive Dog Self-defense

In April, the Bangkok Post reported that by the end of 2016, there will be more than one million stray dogs (known as soi dogs) in Thailand. We love dogs, and we have made many soi dog friends during our time in Thailand. However, we are very vigilant and cautious when we are around dogs because the SE Asia region is a rabies-endemic area. Continue reading Trip Tip: Aggressive Dog Self-defense

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Hanoi, Viet Nam

Tam Coc, Viet Nam

Dating back more than 1,000 years, Hanoi is a city rich with history. While Hanoi is a fascinating place to experience, touch, interact, and expand your knowledge of history, it is not the best place to learn history. To get the most out of your short visit, you must do your homework before you arrive. Many exhibits and landmarks have limited or no English translation. Read as much as you can and plan well so that you can hit the ground running! Continue reading Hanoi, Viet Nam

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Fantastic Independent Hiking – Phu Kradueng, Thailand

Phu Kradueng, Thailand

As the the Bangkok Post story about the couple lost for two days in the jungle of Khao Yai National Park highlights, independent hiking in Thailand can be very difficult! The dense jungle reclaims trails daily, making them extremely hard to follow, and it is very easy to get turned around. Continue reading Fantastic Independent Hiking – Phu Kradueng, Thailand

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Bangkok’s Nong Bon Water Sports Center

Nong Bon Water Sports Center - Bangkok, Thailand

John, an adventurer at heart, has always wanted to learn to sail. At least once a year, he spends a day researching sailing schools and dreaming of sailing across the ocean. Reading many books on the subject, he always seems to find the same advice: the best way to learn to sail is on a dinghy. Not as sexy as a 40′ keelboat, but very effective! Continue reading Bangkok’s Nong Bon Water Sports Center

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Bangkok’s Suan Luang Rama IX (Rama IX Park)

Rama IX Park - Bangkok, Thailand

This is our favorite park in Bangkok! It is a great place to connect with nature, spend a relaxing and educational few hours, and to regain inner-peace that life in a large city can sap away. Covering an area of 500 rai (198 acres), Suan Luang is Bangkok’s largest green space. It was built in 1987 to commemorate the 60th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX. Continue reading Bangkok’s Suan Luang Rama IX (Rama IX Park)

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Trip Tip: Vacation Budgeting Using Excel

Vacation Budgeting Using Excel

“A budget isn’t about restricting what you can spend. It gives you permission to spend without guilt or regret.”

While there is not just one way to budget (paper and pencil work just fine), using Excel can make budgeting much more efficient. Here are two trip planning templates to help you plan your adventures. Continue reading Trip Tip: Vacation Budgeting Using Excel

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Bangkok’s Siam Park City Amusement Park

Siam Park City Amusement Park - Bangkok, Thailand

Siam Park City is a large amusement park and water park located on Seri Thai Road in the Khan Na Yao district of Bangkok. The park has many rides and roller coasters, including the spectacular Vortex, one of the world’s two largest suspended looping roller coasters. In the water park, Siam Park City has the world’s largest wave pool, certified by Guinness World Records. Continue reading Bangkok’s Siam Park City Amusement Park

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Minburi’s Kwan Riam Floating Market

Kwan Riam Floating Market - Bangkok, Thailand

Open on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays, Minburi’s Kwan Riam Floating Market makes for a great day trip. Located in Bangkok’s eastern suburb along the Khlong (Canal) San Saeb, this wonderful market is very laid back and has great food, petting zoos, shops, and entertainment. Opened in 2012, it caters primarily toward Thai tourists and is more upscale than many other floating markets. Continue reading Minburi’s Kwan Riam Floating Market

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Trip Tip: Thailand Expats, Learn Your Thai Numbers!

Thai Numbers
Fun Pack: 500 baht, Kid Pack 120 baht

Learning the numbers in Thai unlocks a secret world. You learn first-hand the dual pricing system operating in Thailand and you can choose to avoid activities that charge anywhere from 100-900% more for foreigners (farangs). It happens everywhere, from coffee shops to amusement parks. Continue reading Trip Tip: Thailand Expats, Learn Your Thai Numbers!

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Royal Bangkok Sports Club Horse Racing

Royal Bangkok Sports Club Horse Racing - Bangkok, Thailand

A great Sunday afternoon activity is to bet on the ponies at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. The track is beautiful with the cityscape in the background and the crowd energy is better than any other track we’ve been to, including Breeder’s Cups at both Santa Anita and Churchill Downs! Continue reading Royal Bangkok Sports Club Horse Racing

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Northwest Thailand Road Trip

Wat Tham Pha Plong - Chiang Dao, Thailand

Our 2687 KM / 1669 Mile road trip originates in Bangkok and heads north along the Burmese border. We travel the western and northern portions of the Mae Hong Son Loop before heading north through Chiang Dao to the Golden Triangle. We finish our trip in Chiang Rai before returning to Bangkok. Continue reading Northwest Thailand Road Trip

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Hong Kong and Macau, China

Dragon's Back Trail - Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong is a city that strongly embraces the outdoor lifestyle. Combined with a comprehensive and easy to navigate public transportation system, Hong Kong is a travel destination that will please outdoor enthusiasts and city-lovers alike. Having one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per capita, you never have to spend much time in Hong Kong hunting for your next meal. Continue reading Hong Kong and Macau, China

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Singapore, Singapore

Singapore
Photo by Win Paing Soe

Days 8-13 of our 13 day, 1233 mile Bangkok to Singapore by Train trip starting in Bangkok, Thailand going all the way to Singapore.

The small island country of Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819 and, since independence in 1965, has become one of the world’s most prosperous countries. Continue reading Singapore, Singapore

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Bangkok to Singapore by Train

Hua Lamphong Railway Station - Bangkok, Thailand

This exciting 1233 mile train trip starts in Bangkok, Thailand and takes you all the way to Singapore! During this unforgettable adventure, we traveled through three diverse countries: Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. We stayed in four amazing cities: Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. To make it even more interesting, we had to manage three different currencies: the Thai baht, the Malaysian ringgit, and the Singapore dollar. Continue reading Bangkok to Singapore by Train

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Trip Tip: Currency Exchange – Don’t leave money on the table!

Currency Exchange

Traveling across international borders generally means that you will need to get some local cash. While a checking account that reimburses fees for ATM withdrawals (i.e. Schwab Bank) and credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees (i.e. Capital One) are great, we like to have some pocket-money before we leave so that we can hit the road running. It lets us get out of the airport or across the border quickly and avoid some of the scams so prevalent at many entry points. Continue reading Trip Tip: Currency Exchange – Don’t leave money on the table!

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Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam

Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam

Ho Chi Minh is an energetic and exciting city. We spent 7 nights there in October and I can’t wait to get back there to visit again. When I think of Ho Chi Minh, I think about the motorcycles swarming around you like bees as you cross the street (be predictable and don’t step backwards!), the warm and friendly people, fascinating history, and the wonderful food. Continue reading Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam

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Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Located 2-3 hours from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is famous for its role in World War II and the start of the Thai-Burma Railway that was constructed in part by Allied soldiers under forced labor by the Japanese in 1943, the Death Railroad. Continue reading Kanchanaburi, Thailand

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Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city in Cambodia, is a city rich in culture and history. The main purpose for our visit to Phnom Penh, however, was to dig deep into the Khmer Rouge, the terrifying period of Democratic Kampuchea, and the Cambodian genocide. This trip was to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21) and the Killing Fields. Continue reading Phnom Penh, Cambodia