Wow — what a week! This was the first time I pulled my passport out since arriving in Thailand in late September, and only the third time I’ve left the comfy shores of Koh Tao in the same time period. And while I’ve been endlessly content to sit still lately, this trip was a blissful reminder of how good it feels to move. We kicked things off with two days in Bangkok, spent primarily exploring the city’s so called Green Lung, the island of Bang Krachao — though we did escape to downtown one evening to eat tacos and watch Star Wars (a true expat vacation). Next, we hopped a short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, one of my favorite destinations in all of Southeast Asia. Here, we settled in at the lush Navutu Dreams, where we spent four days enjoying the resorts’ wellness offerings and serene vibes and exploring the temples of Angkor.
It was a true vacation. We didn’t stress about bus schedules or scouring booking sites or doing and seeing it all. We put in lots of leg work planning the trip ahead of time, and simply enjoyed watching it come to life upon arrival. I can’t wait to share every detail — from biking through the island Bangkok forgot to practicing yoga and trying acupuncture in the gardens of Navutu — in future posts. For now, a little preview.
Because this post is going up a little late (I’ve had it written for more than 48 hours, but didn’t have a reliable internet connection with which to upload it — ah, Southeast Asia) I’m packing it with extra punches of visual goodness. Enjoy this special extended edition of Photo of the Week, and I hope that no matter where you are or what you’re celebrating (or even what you’re struggling with, since this can be a tough time of the year for many) you’ve found a way to capture a bit of the magic of this season.
A brief stay at Bangkok Tree House
Sunrise over Angkor Wat
Our Siem Reap Sanctuary, Navutu Dreams
The twisted trees of Ta Prohm and the bold faces of Bayon
Breakfast of champions at Navutu
Saffron, the hue of Southeast Asia
Goodbye, jungle paradise
Which photo is your favorite?
Housekeeping Note: I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas and I’m still blogging about my summer travels! There’s just so much to cover — no wonder I got so burned out on travel that I needed to take this time to catch my breath — and catch up on posts. You guys know I love sharing my travels chronologically whenever possible. However, I’m getting antsy to start sharing these Southeast Asia adventures with you along with the ones I’m currently blogging about — my summer Caribbean trip and soon to come, my American West one. What do you guys think? Do you mind if I start shaking things up by sharing a bit of both? As always, I’m open to your thoughts and feedback!
Photo G – it’s like some kind of tropical Narnia! Have a magical Christmas Alex and go with what you feel like regarding the blog post themes!
Thanks Gemma! Christmas was beautiful <3
D! How could I go to Southeast Asia and NOT do Angkor Wat? Sigh…
Regarding posts- switch it up! I personally can’t wait to hear about your SEA adventures. 😉
I think I will start mixing it up a bit. My roundups hopefully will make it clear for anyone who wants to see how all the pieces came together chronologically… 🙂
I personally would love to see you mix them up. I love your blogging, but it’s a little weird to be reading about the US summer six months later.. I find myself skipping those posts a lot more. I’m definitely ready to hear about what you’re doing *now*!
Aw, that’s a bummer to hear. And hey, it’s only four months 😉 But no, I understand. I usually try to keep it to 2-3 months behind “real time” but this summer was so chock full of awesome and gave me SO MUCH to cover that the only solutions were to (A) skip writing about some of it, which would make me sad (B) gloss over things and write shorter and less comprehensive posts, which I think I’m incapable of ha ha or (C) just do my thing and catch up when I catch up. None of them are perfect, tough call :/
Photo B. Stunning, gorgeous, can’t even deal. It looks like you’ve had a fabulous trip! And please share anything you’re feeling, I just love seeing your photos and hearing the stories.
Thanks Kacy! I appreciate that 🙂
B! It’s the one place I haven’t been in SE Asia – dying to go to Angkor Wat – hopefully this year. As for posts, I am always drawn to more recent posts, especially focused on SE Asia, but anything you post is great.
Thanks Paul! There will be plenty of Southeast Asia coming up 🙂 I love this part of the world so much!
B is beautiful! Personally I can’t wait to read about and see photos from SE Asia but that’s because I wish I was there! You should share whatever posts/stories you feel like.
Thanks Joella! I have some California coming up too that I think you might be excited about 🙂
I’m going with A, definitely inspired to splurge there for a special occasion. Great sunrise-over-Angkor-Wat shot, and E made me Homesick for SE Asia. It hasn’t even gotten cold yet, and I’m tired of Clementine Cuties.
And I can understand your desire to share your travels chronigically. But I also say mix them up. Most of the content on your post is evergreen, and I bet switching gears after you write about one place for a while and then revisiting hour notes to write more could prove inspiring. Just keep publishing your holiday posts on relevant dates!
Thanks Jason! Sounds like you guys are okay with some mixing around. That’s great — it will give me some freedom to go with what inspires me on a certain week.
Very hard to choose, but I think D is my favorite. Beautiful set of pictures! About your posts: just write about anything you feel like! I can imagine you’re really inspired by your most recent trip, and I can’t wait to read about your Southeast Asian adventures 🙂
Thank you so much! That photo on the left was hard won with the crowds 🙂 And appreciate your chiming in on my query!
Hey! heading to bangkok next week for new years eve! any tips? also where did you eat tacos? I’m in need of semi-good mexican food!
Hey Taylor! I’ve never been to Bangkok for NYE but I’m sure it will be a blast. Bring your ID if you plan to get into an clubs — they have been checking recently. Bars you won’t need it. When in Bangkok and craving Mexican I either call sunshine tacos for delivery, head to the La Monita taco truck in Siam Paragon or go for a sit down meal at Charley Brown’s on Soi 11. Enjoy!
Tie for A and C for me this week! Both of those places look spectacular. Hope you’ve enjoyed your little vacay!
It was bliss! A little tough getting back into the post holiday and holiday routine again 🙂
I’ll go with F! Reminds us in all this crazy world about the cultural and ancestral magic still going on in parts of the world…
Was there ten years ago, and they were talking about how scared they were of all the swimming pool hotels popping up and pumping the water from the ground, making the temples’ stones crumble a little. At the time, they were taking the issue seriously and talked about longer-term and environmental friendly solutions. Did you hear anything about it now ?
While I love reading your blog in chronological order because it feels there is a “red line” to follow, I admit I skip a bit the posts that are from a long time ago…Seeing the pic of the week makes me exited for what you have to tell about these places 🙂
Interesting — no, no one had mention anything about the pools in any of my trips to Siem Reap. Maybe they figured it out?
Alex, you are a hugely talented blogger. I look forward to all your stories and photos of destinations in southeast Asia. I’m hoping to make it to Thailand in 2016; it seems like a magical place.
Thank you so much Bunny! You are too kind!
I love Photo A because it looks like such an incredibly unique place to stay in! And I honestly wouldn’t mind, if you posted about both your summer travels and your recent SE Asia travels at the same time – now that a grey winter is upon us in Europe, I could certainly do with some tropical inspiration and I’m also really interested in all your recent trips! 🙂
Thanks for the thumbs up Melanie 🙂 Indeed, no matter where I’m posting about it will be a hot and sunny destination if I have my way, ha ha.
I’d love to get to hear about more of your travels all at once! You’re blogging is truly excellent
Thanks Jessica! That means a lot!
B or D because it brings back fond memories of traveling there with you in 2009. Love Dad…and Merry Christmas
I talked Ian’s ear off all about our trip, and we even drove by our hotel. Miss you!
Photo D! I would love to see that in person! Photo F was a close second, though – I love that bright hue against the muted stone.
Me too — I think that’s one I’ll have printed out and hanging up someday.
Extra photos make it so tough to choose, but I think I’ll go with Photo F – with D and E as close seconds! I’ve seen some photos of that Bangkok Tree house on your Instagram, and it looks absolutely unreal!
It really is quite unique. I’m looking forward to writing about it…
Photo A is really special but they’re all lovely this time Alex.
Thanks Janice! It was a gorgeous week — couldn’t stop snapping!
For me it’s a tie between A and D. A because that tree house looks like a great place to stay and D because I love the Bayon faces in Angkor!
In regards to your posts, you should do whatever makes you feel comfortable. You could for example continue writing chronologically but on one day (of the week or month or whatever frequency suits you) write some fast-forward posts about your travels now. Don’t overexert yourself though! Sharing your stories should be a fun activity not a forced activity 🙂
You’re the best, Dominique! Love your suggestion and your reminder not to burn myself out 🙂
Toss up between A and C! These are the dreams that carry me through cubicle life while I search for a remote job 🙂
I love absolutely everything you post no matter what order. Go with your gut and share what lights you up. That is the great energy that comes through your blog no matter how long ago it happened!
Thank you Kristina — that means so much to me and is a great relief to read.
Love them all, but F gets my vote! 3 months until I get to see this myself!
Prepare for your breath to be taken away 🙂
I’m between A and C — both of them look like excellent places to relax in paradise!
Indeed — it was the perfect holiday holiday 🙂
Photo F, although I love them all! Just came back from Myanmar and so many monks there
We were quite lucky as there was some sort of monk ceremony going on at Angkor Thom during our trip, so there were plenty mulling around making us smile 🙂
Photo D because it brings back such good memories of my 2 favourite temples out of 1000+ (!!) temples around Siem Reap which is my favourite town in my favourite Country Cambodia (along with Australia my home!).
I have done a lot of travelling and been lucky enough to see many beautiful countries, places, cultures and people but something about Cambodia stands out. I can’t describe exactly why because I haven’t been able to work it out myself. Cambodia is a spectacularly beautiful country, but it is something about the spiritual, happy people and the culture that makes her a stand out.
I said more or less this exact same thing to Ian (my travel buddy on this trip!) on our plane ride in. I also name it as one of my absolute favorite countries in the world.
Photo B because I love sunrises!
I actually saw two on this trip. And they were both gorgeous! I’m normally more of a sunset girl, but this was worth it 🙂
Please do start sharing your SE Asia adventures. I read that and I’m like what, she’s been there since September?! I wanna hear more about the “settled” life on Koh Tao and everything around it (plus the American summer adventures too, don’t get me wrong).
Also, thanks for the Christmas wishes at the end of this post–well said, especially the “struggling” part.
Well, I actually got back to Koh Tao in October 🙂 August and September were craaaaazy jam packed. No wonder I was ready to temporarily retire my passport by the time I touched down here!
I’m heading back to Bangkok next year so I can’t wait to read about Bang Krachao and your stay at the Bangkok Tree House. So difficult to pick my favourite photo as I love everything about Southeast Asia (apart from the mozzies!) but if I had to choose I’ll say D, the beautiful, ruined temples of Angkor 🙂
Ah, I know how you feel. Bangkok Tree House is so unique — excited to write about it when I slog through editing the rest of those photos!
Out of order is 100% fine. But I really want to hear about Burning Man!
Oh man… I have a whole notebook full of thoughts and memories and notes from that week, and I still have no idea how I’m going to turn them into a post! It’s coming though!
photo a. looks so relaxing to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. small luxury boutique can be a treat. looking forward to read more about it.
We did stay in some really cool places this trip! Thanks Julia!
Foto F – always love the contrast of the orange monk robes with the surroundings.Will be heading over to Siem Reap beginning of January and are looking forward!
Great posts btw, can read about your trips all day long :
Thanks Julian, that means the world and makes me smile!
Bangkok is really a beauty inside and out. I love each pictures you shared. Sum up what Bangkok’s beauty looks like.
Thanks Marie — but actually, just the first picture is from Bangkok. The rest are Siem Reap 🙂
I choose the second part of Photo G – it looks like a path to paradise.
We couldn’t get over how lush the grounds were. It almost felt like it was fake! (It wasn’t 🙂 )
This is such a beautiful entry, how oh how do I choose? With the proverbial gun to my head, I’ll go with F for the beautiful framing & pop of saffron that is so classic SE Asia!
I know… I never get sick of that color!
Happy New Year! We’re missing you already here in Siem Reap X
I’m like you and I’m way behind in posting. I used to get hung up about it but I came to the realisation that readers don’t really care as long as they’re reading interesting, inspirational, helpful stuff.
Lovely to see your gorgeous pics! Looking forward to more.
Wishing you a wonderful 2016.
Lara! I’ve been meaning to write you. I’m trying to get un-hung up on it 🙂 It’s definitely a problem that I think is mostly in the blogger’s head. Here’s hoping our paths cross again in 2016!
Whoops! Forgot to say that I adore your monk shot! Beautiful image.
We lucked out — a shot at Bayon without any other tourists 😉
Hey Alex! I love your pictures! Can you also share some ideas about what camera did you use and any tips on travel photography for amateur traveler like me?
Hey there! Check out my obsessions page — all my camera gear is listed there!