September 28, 2012

Shopping Around The World

Guess where we were in this picture?

London, you say? Nope!

That's taken at Terminal 21 Mall - one of the recent addition to the huge and glitzy malls in Bangkok.

In this time and age, it is not enough to have a huge mall. You need gimmicks to attract customers. And this mall just does that. I wouldn't bother going there (take a train ride) just to shop when I can shop in the mall right in front of my hotel.

Terminal 21 is a one floor one theme concept Mall. They used the famous world cities in the world to represent each floor like Caribbean, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, San Francisco, Istanbul and Hollywood.

From the looks of it, they have attracted not just locals but tourists as well. The Caribbean floor (lower ground level) which has a Lighthouse is an easy favorite spot. In fact, we saw a lot of people having their picture taken with the lighthouse as their backdrop.

So if you want to "tour" and shop around the world, you know where to go :)

September 25, 2012

We Can Do Slow

Yesterday, Monday was a national holiday (Constitution Day) here in Cambodia giving ua a long weekend.

We just stayed home. It was nice to have a three-day weekend doing everything at our own pace.

Hubby took the chance to study. I started working on our Tokyo itinerary. And EJ, well, he just played the whole time.

Rock on!

It's been gloomy lately with periodic rains but it's just the kind of weather I need. Hope you guys have a fantastic week!

September 23, 2012

Hotel Review: Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square

On our recent trip to Bangkok, we stayed at Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square. I chose this hotel because of its location and its price.

If you've been following this blog, you'd know that we almost always stay at Centara Grand at Central World whenever we are in Bangkok. We've been to Bangkok six times and this is the second time we stayed in a different hotel.

The first hotel we stayed at other than Centara Grand was at Emporium Suites.  It was okay but the location wasn't really suited to our purpose at that time. We were there to go shopping and while there's a mall - Emporium Mall connected to the hotel, nothing beats shopping at Siam area.

I told myself that if we're going to Bangkok again, I'll book Centara or another hotel that's within the same area.

For this trip, I decided to book Novotel because the rate is cheaper compared to Centara or any other hotel within that area.

I booked a standard room. It was okay but the aircon smell was "smoky". EJ started coughing and I started to have migraine. I told my husband, we couldn't stay in the room.

So I asked the front office if they have another standard room we could transfer that does not have a smoky atmosphere. They showed us another standard room on a higher floor and an executive premier room.

When EJ saw the executive premier room, he said "I want to move in to this room!" I was hesitant because we had to pay an additional 1,400 Baht or roughly $47/night.


The Executive Premier Room at Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square. We did not bring the SLR so I only took photos using my iPhone. Some shots were blurred and this was the only decent picture I have.

In the end I was convinced the additional payment was worth it. Here are the reasons:
1) Room is huge.
2) Has two sofa sets and two flat screen TVs
3) Access at the Premier Lounge (free drinks from 6am-10pm and free cocktails from 5-7pm everyday)

After the upgrade, we were pretty pleased with everything else - good buffet selection, friendly staff and easy access to Siam Paragon.

I think I found another favorite hotel to stay in Bangkok.

Afternoon Colors

I would like to share something beautiful every afternoon from where we live. Lately, we've been blessed with captivating clouds and sunset. It's hard to miss because our front door opens to this beauty every afternoon.


I edited this above photo with camera+ because the original photo captured in my iPhone was dull. It wasn't a correct representation of the actual clouds and sunset.


This one is unedited. I love how the clouds is almost enveloped with what seems like a fire. For me, it's just amazing. If I have to make my own personalized desk name plates, I'd like to have one of this as background.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!” ― C. JoyBell C.

“There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.” ― Jo Walton

September 21, 2012

Quick Tour Around the World

When we were in Bangkok, EJ and I met up with my friend and her daughter who used to live here in Phnom Penh. They're now happily based in Bangkok.

We met up at Siam Paragon and had lunch at Secret Recipe.

My friend, Che and her very pretty daughter Isabelle.


Cuties! :)

We decided to met up again the second time at Terminal 21. This mall is a recent addition to the big and glitzy malls in Bangkok. I wanted to check it out because I wanted to "travel" to a few famous cities around the world.


Terminal 21 is a one floor one concept shopping mall. Each floor is themed according to the city it represents.

London (2nd floor)

Sitting at the Golden Gate Bridge Bridge (4th floor)

Istanbul (3rd floor)

Tokyo (1st floor)

Hollywood (6th floor)

It's a pretty interesting mall. There are lots of open spaces for the kids to run around. EJ and Isabelle enjoyed playing hide and seek at the Lighthouse (LG floor - Caribbean).

Che, thank you for the "tour" around the world. It was great catching up with you. Hope to see you again soon. And thank you for all these photos.

September 18, 2012

The Grade Schooler

This post has long been over due.

EJ is now in Grade 1 at East West International School. Their academic school year started last September 3.

My handsome young man!

It's the third week of school (second week for EJ as we were in Bangkok last week) and so far, EJ said it's been awesome.

At first I was worried because, it's a new school and everything will be new to him - the teachers, classmates and the environment. But I guess that's the job of a mom, to worry over little things.

Of course my worries were all for nothing. He looks like he's adjusted quite well. I hope.

I can't quite believe hubby and I have a grade schooler already. Time is fast, indeed.

September 17, 2012

Back in PP

We're back in Phnom Penh last Saturday night. It was supposed to be a relaxing holiday for me and EJ (hubby was working) but I came home feeling tired and fatigued from the trip.

What's ironic is that I did not do any strenuous activity. All we did was eat and eat and eat.

I am so used to doing a lot of physical work and intense workout that my body does not like total rest anymore. LOL!

Anyway, we got to do some shopping for EJ. We bought his school shoes and PE shoes. He wanted us to take a look at some guitars because he wants to buy an electric guitar. He said he wants to be a rockstar. We went around but did not find something suitable for him.

Here's my cutie at Comme des Garcons in Erawan Bangkok. We were canvassing a CDG tshirt for my cousin.


Just a little trivia, the CDG t-shirt was worth $127 more or less while the same t-shirt costs only $95 in Dubai according to my cousin.

I guess shopping in Dubai is cheaper.

Will post more photos and stories later. I have to attend to my mountainous laundry first.

Have a great Monday everyone!

September 12, 2012

Money and Happiness

Good morning, Bangkok!

Today, EJ and I are planning to go swimming in the hotel's pool. I hope it doesn't rain. Or if it does, we'll probably just go to Siam Ocean World.

Since EJ and I are just tagging along on hubby's business trip, we don't have an itinerary. This is certainly new to me. I am not used to doing nothing.

I am sure I will gain weight while here. We have complimentary access to a premier lounge with food and drinks all through out the day. I am eating too much but I am not doing anything to burn those calories. Oh well. Live a little they say. LOL!

~~~

Have you heard about timothy sykes? I actually just recently heard about him when a friend mentioned the name.

My friend said she was forwarded a link about timothy sykes review and from there she learned about the "rebel millionaire". She got curious and read more about him.

Apparently, Mr. Sykes is a self-made millionaire who made his first million trading penny stocks before even finishing his college studies.

These stories are always interesting and inspiring to me. Who doesn't want to be a millionaire, right? How did they do it, and at such young age?

I know the adage, money doesn't buy happiness. But I know one thing also. Money makes our lives comfortable. Money can buy things which can give us pleasure. It may not give us long-lasting happiness but I'd rather have those short intermittent burst of joy than being depressed about not having money.

Anyway, I have no knowledge about trading and stocks. I have always been intrigued about it but I have never done anything to learn about it.

I should probably give it a try.

~~~

Have a blissful Wednesday, everyone!

September 11, 2012

My Little Traveler

We're in Bangkok until Saturday night. We arrived to a rainy city yesterday. But thank God the rest of the day was clear, although a little gloomy.


EJ at Phnom Penh International Airport. He said he loves to travel. He's absent from school for a week but I asked the teacher to give him assignments. Even if he's on holiday, I will ask him to do one school activity everyday, which he heartily agreed.

On the way to Bangkok, we saw these beautiful clouds. Pretty, right? I love it.


Everyday, we are reminded how beautiful God's creations are. In our busy lives, we sometimes forget these beauties.

Anyway, I am so happy to be back here in Bangkok. I think it's our fifth stay in the city. But more than anything, I am just happy and grateful for all these wonderful travels and moments I have with my two boys.



September 7, 2012

Resto in Phnom Penh: Uraetei BBQ Japan

Here's another new in town - Uraetei, a Japanese restaurant. Seriously, this city has new establishment opening almost every week that it's hard to keep up.

If you go out of town for a month, you'd be surprised by the number of establishments that have opened or closed for that matter. Yup, they close and open stores that easily.

Anyway, we tried Uraetei a couple of weeks ago for dinner. Hubby and I are Japanese food lovers but EJ is still catching up. 

Entrance 

The place is divided into small cubicles making dining a private event

We ordered mixed meat BBQ so they brought in grill with real coal


{Mixed BBQ}


{No lard or butter necessary}



{Korean cheese pancake/omelette}


{Fried rice}

We love the BBQ but it was kinda pricey. I forgot exactly how much we paid but I think the mixed BBQ alone was in the range of $30 or something.

We went there again last week because a Japanese friend invited us for lunch. We found out that they have lunch set menu and it's definitely cheaper. A set lunch only sets you back $5-6.


Uraetei BBQ Japan
No. 5 Street 360
Boeung Keng Kang 1
Phnom Penh
Tel 023-218037 

September 6, 2012

No Small Job

Before we fly to Tokyo next month, we're flying to Bangkok first this coming Monday. Hubby has a week long conference and since he can't bear to be apart from EJ and moi, he's bring us along. LOL!

At first, I did not want to go because that's another expenses for us. But since EJ and I will only be paying for our airfare, I was convinced to go.

And I also need to buy EJ a new school shoes which we cannot find here and which I am sure we can easily find in Bangkok.

EJ has started Grade 1 last Monday but I haven't been able to post pictures and stories because he is using his Crocs as his school shoes with his uniform. It doesn't look that nice. Haha!

The school is not strict about shoes though but the Crocs just doesn't match his uniform.

I also need to check screen printing fredericksburg va. I am planning to join a Christmas bazaar here and I am thinking of selling my hand-made jewelries and some custom design shirts.

With this trip, I have to remind myself it is not a shopping trip but a window-shopping trip only. LOL!

~~~

There is no small job, only small mind. Today, I am going to do EVERYTHING with love. Have a great Thursday everyone!

September 5, 2012

Air Asia Booked for Phnom Penh to Tokyo

This upcoming trip Tokyo has given me some migraines. I had a hard time choosing airlines and hotel accommodation. Everything seems expensive on this trip.

But I finally booked our tickets via Air Asia.

Coming from Phnom Penh, there is no direct flight to Tokyo. There are several stop overs you can choose from depending on which airlines you choose, namely:

Air Asia - stopover at Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines - stopover at Kuala Lumpur
Dragon Air - stopover at Hongkong and change to Cathay Pacific plane from Hongkong to Tokyo
Thai Airways - stopover at Bangkok
Korean Air - stopover at Seoul
Asiana Airlines - stopover at Seoul

I would have loved to try either Korean or Asiana Airlines so we'll have a chance to see Seoul, even if it's just their airport. Unfortunately, the flight timings do not match our itinerary.

My second choice was Dragon Air, not because I want a stop over in Hongkong but because I want to experience Cathay Pacific. But just like Korean and Asiana Airlines, the timings are not in sync with our schedule and it's a little pricier.

Thai Airways has nice timings but they're very expensive. I wonder why?

So the best option for us was Air Asia. I got the promo rate so I just added some extras for our convenience. I have pre-ordered our meals and booked seats with extra legroom.

Our total ticket cost? It's about $1,900 for two adults and 1 kid.  It's a very good rate compared to the other airlines.

We have flown in with Air Asia before and so far we haven't had any bad experiences. I am hoping this one will also be a smooth flight.

He Wants a Pet

EJ told me again the other day that he wants to have a pet. He already knows that we cannot have one because we live in an apartment and pets are not allowed.

But just to go along with him, I asked him what kind of pet he wants to have. He said, he'd like a cat and a guinea pig.

I think this was brought on by seeing my friend's pets in her house. My friend has 7 (or is it 9?) dogs, 6 (or is it 7?) cats, guinea pigs (i don't know how many, but definitely more than 5), 2 rabbits, turtles, chicken and roosters. EJ saw my friend's guinea pigs and he was so enamored with the cute little ones.

I would love to get one or even a couple for EJ. It can teach him how to be responsible. But for now, it's not possible.

And to be honest, it would mean added responsibility for me which I cannot handle right now. Imagine going to a VetDepot for check-ups, getting pet medications from vetdepot, etc, etc. I just have too much in my plate right now.

But one day, we will have a pet. A dog probably and even some guinea pigs.

September 3, 2012

The Terrace Story

I realized how convenient and useful having a terrace is. Every morning at 4:30am, I walk back and forth in the terrace for 30, sometimes 45 minutes while hubby does his set of exercise on the side as well. That's our morning bonding time. Haha!

Before we go in the apartment and prepare our breakfast, hubby sometimes takes picture of the sunrise, the clouds, the streets below us or just anything that fancies him. Because of this terrace, he's back practicing on his camera again.

On weekends, sometimes even on weekdays, hubby takes his camera again and shoots. Here's a couple of shots hubby made that I like.

The moon and the north star

Street 63, Phnom Penh. The city is changing by the minute - tall buildings starting to rise everywhere. 

Just reminiscing - we arrived here three years ago and the city has changed so much since then. Coming from Kuala Lumpur at that time, we felt Phnom Penh was so provincial. But now, there's coffee shop in almost every corner. International brands are popping up like mushrooms in main streets like Sihanouk, Monivong and Norodom Boulevard. Phnom Penh is fast growing into a commercial city.

Back to the terrace, yup it's really beneficial having one. So if you have a terrace, make the most out of it.

September 2, 2012

Life is Magnifique

That is Sofitel's tagline or slogan. Indeed life is magnifique, I believe.

Anyway, last Friday we had dinner at Sofitel Phokeethra's La Coupole. EJ had been requesting to eat there. But we always tell him, we could only go there on special occasions like birthdays and other special days.

Last Friday, we went there as a delayed birthday celebration for EJ and I.

Sofitel's Hallway going to the restaurants

Lovely flowers on display

Table Setting. I love the concept.

Friday night is seafood buffet dinner at La Coupole. That night, I indulged in grilled lobsters and squid. Uber yummy!

And for dessert, there's plenty of chocolates to choose from their Cocoa station.  

EJ's choice of chocolates. Don't play with your food, baby :)

I love these paintings hanging on their wall

EJ loves going to Sofitel. He says it's one of his favorite hotel restaurant. I can understand that. I love going there too. But to go there every week is suicide on one's diet and pocket. LOL!

Sofitel's Seafood Buffet Dinner costs $38++/person. Kids (5 and up) pay half.