Tag Archives: Airbnb

I ♥ Bangkok

We departed Siem Reap, Cambodia, early in the morning via bus to Bangkok. Compared to our 2 awesome bus experiences in Singapore and Malaysia, this version was truly the cattle call from start to finish. Just picture a bunch of western tourists waiting on the side of a busy polluted Siem Reap road to the fear of said same group nearly losing the bus at the chaotic border crossing into Thailand and you get the idea. But we survived, tired and dirty and arrived in Bangkok late in the afternoon. Our Airbnb host, Toy, picked us up at the bus station in Chatuchak which in itself was wonderful after the long ride.

It was the 2nd visit to Bangkok for Chris (1989) and myself (2008) and we were both excited to return to this crazy city. We split our 9 days in Bangkok between 2 Airbnb apartments. The first half we stayed in a trendy building – Urbano Absolute, in the Riverside area. Imagine working out in the gym followed by an infinity pool swim on the 40th floor with 360 degree views of the city. We walked to the Hilton Millennium SkyBar for drinks/appetizers and of course amazing views. Another day we toured the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and its Reclining Buddha where the kids made contributions to the 40 different wishing pots – I hope they come true!

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Another day we shopped the Chatuchak Market. Louisa quickly became the guru of negotiations by befriending many a vendor to wheel and deal for all kinds of goods! It is entertaining to watch your daughter negotiate with people and she certainly did a great job! We also got lost in Chinatown meandering around and rode the touristy tuk-tuk for a ride. We also visited Sky Asiatique, a riverfront area with tons of shops and restaurants, and the highest ferris wheel in Thailand.

Our 2nd apartment relocated us on the same street of the fabulous Jim Thompson House in Siam Square. I liked this area better because of the action and activities nearby. Skytrain, the National StadiumMBK Shopping Center, Siam Paragon, BACC, and many other fun things to do are just steps away.  The Jim Thompson House was certainly my favorite attraction and a nice break from the temples. The architecture and peaceful garden are unique, not to mention the cute store with beautiful silk items! We even returned for dinner at the JT restaurant and were not disappointed as the food and service were excellent and we enjoyed the Thai delicacies.

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I could not finish the blog post without mentioning Thai food. Just as in Penang, food is a vital part of our trip and it could not be any different in Bangkok. The street food is really out of this world and generally safe to eat. Just on our street, for example, there was a nice lady with her food cart every day and we became regulars trying nearly all of her dishes. I love all the fresh fruit and juices that you can buy on the street too. My favorite dessert is Khao Niaow Ma Muang (sticky rice with mango), which is a Thai classic. So yummy!  The malls also have some amazing and diverse food courts. We enjoyed the 5th Food Avenue at the MBK and the fantastic Eathai, at the Central Embassy mall, the upscale street food court with a wealth of regional Thai food.

Why do I love Bangkok? Well, some visitors may think that 2-3 days in Bangkok is enough. I, on the other hand, think that 10 days cuts you short! There are so many interesting sites and one of the best things about Bangkok is simply sitting at the food stalls and observing the surroundings, the people and the chaos. Yes, it is a chaotic city but it has also a touch of ultra-modern and cosmopolitan attractions, just like in Singapore, but keeping it a lot more real, diverse and true to its origin.

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Sebastian’s favorite soccer player is here!


The boy scouts


Perth (period).

Our Perth visit should stop right here because we really didn’t see anything except the neighborhood of Victoria Park, where our Airbnb was located. Other than that, it was a week of studies and exams for the kids to wrap up their school term before Christmas break.

Our Airbnb was an interesting place – the cleanest accommodation thus far and a large 5 BR home that belongs to a Filipino/Scottish couple. We felt like we were living a “Big Brother” TV show. Michelle, the hostess, had a Holiday Party one night and it was quite fun to meet some locals as well as other guests from her different houses in Perth. There was a mixture of single, married, gay, and even cross gender to match with a variety of professions including movie producer, miners, Iranian immigrants, and us (a family)! After our week, we felt right at home with everyone and made some good friendships.

Victoria Park (like ours in Fort Lauderdale) has a nice local library, several local farmers markets and diverse restaurants that we enjoyed in the neighborhood. We also stocked up on some books at a cute little bookstore called Crow’s. Our farewell dinner celebration of 2 months in Australia included a nice bottle of red champagne from Barossa with pizza and chicken parm at the appropriately named Sebastian’s. We happily put together our top 10 list (to be shared soon) over dinner and recounted what a truly wonderful time we had in Australia. We bid farewell to Australia on December 16th flying to Bali but we will be back!


Farewell Dinner at Sebastian’s


Our last bottle of Australian wine

Adelaide and the Barossa Valley

We have not been able to update the blog in a while. Between our trip to Adelaide, the Australian outback and the kids sprinting to finish their school term before we leave Australia, the blog got a bit neglected unfortunately. We will catch up on the places we have been in the next few posts.

We arrived in Adelaide on Thanksgiving day, which is our favorite holiday in the US. As a Brazilian, I learned to love Thanksgiving throughout these years as it is such a nice, relaxing holiday eating great food and being with special family and friends. While this year we were not following our traditional Thanksgiving with the Houchin cousins, we managed to find a nice pub in Adelaide – The Highway – serving typical pub food while we watched the 49ers get beaten by the Seahawks, argh!

We stayed at an airbnb during our week in Adelaide. Mel was our hostess, she is a vegan chef and was really great to us. The kids enjoyed playing with her 10-year old son, Liam. We enjoyed Adelaide, the weather was very nice and the “flat as a pancake” city made it easy to walk and bike around. Our place was just outside CBD and we spent a full day biking around the main sites. Adelaide is very bike friendly and offers a great service – free bike rentals (and free wifi in downtown). We took full advantage of it and enjoyed the Botanic Gardens and biking around the river. Also spent a day at the State Library, kids studying while Chris and I checked out the Art Gallery and the South Australian Museum next door.


Free biking in Adelaide


Adelaide Botanic Gardens

The highlight of our week in Adelaide was the day trip to the Barossa Valley. Mel was very graceous to take us on a tour of some of the best local wineries. We started with delicious coffee and gourmet tastings at Maggie’s Beer Farm Shop (loved the burnt fig jam, the vino cotto and the patés)  and then on to 2 wineries before stopping for a light lunch at Fino, a new restaurant at the beautiful Seppeltsfield winery. Then on to 2 more wineries before returning to Adelaide in time to get the kids for an Ethiopian dinner and Belgian crèpes for desert. If you are still reading this you can imagine how full we were by the time we went to bed..


With our airbnb hostess, Mel


Wine tasting at the Barossa





We departed Adelaide for our next adventure at the Australian outback heading to Flinders Ranges National Park. This time we did well in upgrading to a 6-berth campervan, much more comfortable than the one we had in New Zealand. We did learn our lesson! More to come on the outback trip…stay tunned.


Quorn, on our way to Flinders Ranges National Park


The Apollo, our upgraded campervan