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Holiday in Cambodia

We’ve said before that one of the great things about living in Singapore is that it’s easy to jet away to all sorts of spectacular places. In late April, we did just that with a weekend trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to the famous Angkor Wat and other thousand-year-old temples deep in the jungle.

Most famous is Angkor Wat itsslef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and, in fact, the largest religious monument in the world. It’s 162 hectares — thanks, Wikipedia! — and comprises a moat and numerous stone buildings, plus lots of open space.

This video gives a hint at the size:

And that’s just one small section of the place, just outside the main temple.

Here are a bunch of photos from in and around Angkor Wat. Click on any photo to enlarge it – and trust us, it’s worth it! A very photogenic place.

Just up the road is Angkor Thom, an ancient walled city with numerous old temples and monuments inside. It was the capital of the Khmer empire and established around 900 years ago.

This was our second stop on the day, and to be honest, we were a little worried that Nyan’s attention would quickly lag. There wasn’t a lot to actually *do* at these places besides walk around and ooh and ahh and be amazed at the sculptures and architecture. But Nyan was a trooper and was really into it! Here we are exploring around Angkor Thom, including a few shots of the moat outside the wall and the wall itself.

As awesome as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom were, Ta Prohm was definitely Daddy’s favorite temple. Unlike the other two, officials have made a conscious choice not to do much if any restoration work here, so there are tumbled-down stones everywhere and, most stunningly, huge jungle trees and vines crawling all over everything. So beautiful.

The trip wasn’t all temple trekking though. We also spent some time in our hotel’s very nice swimming pool.

And maybe the highlight of the trip, for Nyan at least, was the tuk-tuk rides we took around town.

Finally, random shots from the trip. Including one of Nyan, before the flight, wearing a toy crown he had made at school. He slapped it on and took to calling himself the “King of Cambodia.” Alright then.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Return to Myanmar

In early March, Nyan and Mommy joined Phwa Phwa and Uncle Nyi-Nyi for a short visit to Yangon, Myanmar. It was definitely a trip they will never forget, since both Mommy and Nyan caught some sort of stomach bug and spent a fair amount of time convalescing in their hotel room!

Still, they managed to see some temples — including the famous Shwedagon Pagoda — and hang out with various aunties and cousins, including Nyan’s favorite Kiki.

Some of the temples:

Nyan was really into the bells:

 

And the incense too:

And just hanging out with his young cousin Htun Htun:

And finally some random shots from around Yangon:

So you can see, they managed to have a good time in spite of the sickness. Next time we will all stay healthy and see more of the country!

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Fun in Phuket – Part Two

In our last post, we looked at our time at the beach and the resort during our trip to Phuket, Thailand in late December 2016. Here, we take a look at some specific things we got up to.

We stayed in the town of Karon, which was a short drive away from the tourist hub of Patong, which is jam-packed and overcrowded, and is also home to a red-light district. We popped over to Patong one evening for some dinner and sightseeing.

First, Nyan and Daddy found an Irish pub – complete with American craft beers on tap – and had some dinner while Mommy had a massage. The pub was quite empty but had a stage area that was set up for a singer later in the evening. Nyan took advantage of it being empty and hopped on the stage.

He also tried his hand at some free dancing on the dance floor.

We also took a family stroll up Bangla Road, the heart of the red light district. It was still early, so not too rowdy. Nyan got some attention from some of the ladies of the night, but it was all innocent. We think.

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We got to drive in an open-air tuk-tuk on the way back to the resort.

One of our favorite activities on Phuket was an afternoon spent at Dino Golf. It’s a miniature golf course with a dinosaur theme. Lots of fiberglass dinos poking their heads out of the jungle foliage, plus holes that went through volcanos or over fallen logs. Pretty fun!

One thing we learned: none of us are very good at mini golf. Oh well.

Another day we went to visit the Big Buddha, which is – you guessed it – a Buddha statue, high on a ridge overlooking the entire island, that is quite big. Impressive.

The views are pretty amazing as well.

Underneath the statue are a lot of shrines you can pray to. Here’s Nyan, trying his hand at it.

It’s still under construction, and to raise money, they let you write your name on a tile that will one day be installed on the site, in exchange for a donation.

Those are the highlights from our trip to Phuket. It’s a fine enough place, though to be honest, not one we’re likely to rush back to. A bit crowded, and nothing really special enough to make it worth a return visit, we felt. Still, a good time, and a nice way to cap off 2016.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Fun in Phuket – Part One

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During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, we flew a couple hours north to Phuket, the resort island off the mainland of Thailand. It was crowded, packed with tourists from Russia and elsewhere, but we stayed out of the heart of the tourist zone so managed to enjoy ourselves. Here’s a look at what we got up to.

We spent a great deal of time on the beach – specifically Karon Beach, right across the road from our hotel. It was lovely and pretty clean, with great sunset views and sand that was perfect for building things in.

Here are some random shots from around the island, including Nyan riding in the back of a tuk-tuk  and getting some love from one of the Burmese girls working at a seafront restaurant that we frequented

The resort we stayed at had several swimming pools – one with a water slide – plus a kid’s club area, rock paths that a curious five year old liked to examine using his new night-vision goggles, and more. Let’s take a look.

Here’s the young man, bouncing around inside the kid’s club

Finally, some shots from the traveling. Hanging out with Pikachu at the airport, waiting in line for passport control, and passed out on the bed after flights and car rides to the hotel.

Next up: More pictures and videos from around Phuket .

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Nyan Thomas Does Burma (or Myanmar)

Long-time readers may know that Mommy was born in Burma, a.k.a. Myanmar. She hadn’t been back since 2003, and Daddy had never been there. So when we moved to Singapore a couple years ago — Singapore being just two hours or so by plane from the Yangon, the capital — we put Burma high on our list of places to visit.

Or rather, places to visit eventually, since Nyan was not yet three years old, and we thought he was still too young to subject him to a very, very developing country.

By earlier this year, we decided it was time. Phwa Phwa was visiting Myanmar for a few weeks, so Nyan, Mommy and Daddy popped over for five days. It was a pretty amazing place. (Editor’s note: the names Burma and Myanmar are used fairly interchangeably. There’s a deep history behind what each particular name means, which we won’t try to go into here. For sake of consistency, we’ll call it Myanmar from here on out.)

Let’s start off with a look at random scenery from around Yangon. We should note that it’s a fascinating place, filled with gorgeous old buildings and friendly and helpful locals, but it was also run by a military junta for many decades. A lot of urban amenities — like closed sewers and organized traffic flows — just don’t exist. Keep that in mind as you look at this first batch of pictures, which, yes, does include a shot of several layers of crumbling sidewalk with open sewer beneath.

Myanmar is home to a tremendous number of Buddhist temples, and Yangon is sort of built up around Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the biggest and most opulent temples you’ll see. We went there one evening:

Another night we visited Sule Pagoda, which is in the heart of downtown Yangon. Part of it features a wooden model ship in which you put offerings; then you turn this hand crank and it drags the boat up to a pagoda. Nyan dug it. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Nyan Thomas Does Bali

Nyan Thomas Does Bali

Back over the Christmas holidays, we took a family trip to Bali for five days or so. This Indonesian island is, in a lot of ways, the quintessential tropical island vacation spots, with beaches, hotels, nightlife, watersports, mountains and other beautiful scenery. And it’s only a two hour flight from Singapore! We were, to be honest, a little put off by the rampant over-development and traffic in some parts of the island – typical, of course, of any popular tourist destination, sadly – but other parts of the island were just stunningly beautiful.

Plus we had a nice hotel on the beach, with lush grounds and a great pool. Let’s check out a bit of what Nyan (and Mommy and Daddy) got up to. With lots of photos and videos!

Nyan played his first ever game of  ping pong. Let’s just say that he needs a bit of practice.

We spent a lot of time away from the resort too. Ain’t Bali beautiful? (click on any photo to enlarge)

Mommy’s Aunt Jessica used to live on Bali. She lives in Japan now with her family, but they still own property in Bali, and happened to be on the island at the same time as us. So we got to hang out with them, including Nyan’s cousin Grace. They got along great.

They had fun drawing and coloring together:

More photos from around the island (and one from Changi Airport in Singapore on our way out):

Maybe the highlight of the trip was all the time Nyan got to spend in the resort swimming pool. And Daddy had borrowed a waterproof GoPro camera for the trip, so there’s plenty of video footage.

Goofing in the pool with Mommy and Daddy:

Doing something he called the ‘alligator slap’ and ‘whale swim’:

More splashing, plus making friends with a random woman:

Whale song:

Bali is known for its art and design, though we didn’t take too many pictures. Here are a few:

Music and dancing are also important parts of Balinese culture. Our resort put on a dance show one night. Nyan was suitably impressed:

Here are some shots from around the resort. Plenty of koi ponds, which gave Nyan plenty of chances to feed the fish:

Another night, they had a cocktail reception for guests, with live music. Nyan enjoyed it:

And finally, we leave you with this bit of brilliant nonsense. I think he wanted to send a video message to Grandma. Instead, we got this.

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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Photos, Video

 

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Nyan Thomas Does KL

A few months back, Phwa Phwa (aka Mommy’s Mommy) was visiting for a few weeks. We decided a weekend get-away was in order, so we hopped a cheap plane for the 45-minute flight to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Mommy’s cousin Molly lives there and promised to show us around a bit.

In a lot of ways, KL is everything that Singapore is not. It’s chaotic, it’s dirty, it’s noisy, it’s run-down in spots, and it’s got plenty of urban energy. It wouldn’t be a place we’d want to live at this point in our lives, but after a half day of adjusting to a ‘real’ city – as opposed to the somewhat sanitized city that Singapore can be – we really started to enjoy it.

Here’s our boy posing at the airport on the way out, and hanging out waiting for the elevator at the hotel in KL, and at the airport on the way home:

KL is known for the Petronas Towers – a pair of ornate skyscrapers that were, when they were built in 1998, the tallest towers in the world. (Now they’re  something like 8th tallest.) They’re gorgeous from outside, and well worth a trip up – you walk across the ‘skybridge’ that connects the towers at the 43rd floor, then head to the top of one of the towers for some great views across KL, even when it’s hazy like the day we were there.

Some random shots of KL in all its gritty urban glory:

Here we are hanging out in a tree, and in Chinatown:

And more random shots, including Nyan drawing at dinner, Nyan inside an electric car on display at a fancy shopping mall, and the family at dinner.

That’s KL in a nutshell. Dirty, gritty, urban, and frankly a great change of pace from Singapore. Still, no offense to KL, but we’ll take Singapore for now.

 

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2016 in Photos

 

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