Volunteering in Cambodia: A mind-opening experience with JB School

We were privileged to be able to volunteer at JB School, an English language school in a farming village in Cambodia. We wanted to understand more about what life is like for the “regular” Cambodian away from the tourist trail, and felt that giving something that was within our gift to give – our time and our language – would be an opportunity to give back to the communities we visit. We found JB School on AirBnB. It offered a homestay and guided experience of village life, and the opportunity to volunteer at their school. It was an interesting find for […]

Anzac Day: From Gallipoli to Pearl Harbour

Growing up in Australia in the 70s, we learned the story of the Anzacs, like Simpson and the Donkey. As a young boy, Anzac day was a public holiday much like any other – a day off school. The holiday didn’t always fall on the 25th April back then, Instead, the Anzacs were memorialised with a long weekend, and the holiday was on the nearest Monday to the 25th. History was not a big deal in our schools or family, it was just the way I grew up. Fast forward some 40 years and | felt it was time to […]

Angkor Wat: The mother of all wats

They say that Angkor Wat is the mother of all wats – not because she came first (and apparently it’s a “she”), but because she’s so vast, that she gave birth to all the other wats. Angkor Wat is so important to Cambodia that it’s on the flag, and even the Khmer Rouge left her standing during their rampage of destruction across this landlocked nation. Cambodia is one of only four countries in the world to feature a building on their flag (bonus points for guessing the other three). Angkor Wat is located just outside Siem Reap, a busy town, […]

Into Cambodia: Siem Reap

We landed in Cambodian city of Siem Reap, the gateway for Angkor Wat and the temples surrounding it that together make up the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site.  Airport transport came in the form of a tuk tuk, and we were dubious as to whether our excessive amounts of luggage would fit on the little bike with a carriage.  Our driver had clearly done this before, and expertly piled on all of our bags, with room to spare for the passengers.  We felt a bit conspicuous driving into town on our overladen chariot, but we quickly realised this is the […]

Bali: A rubbish filled tropical shocker

We landed in Bali with curiosity bubbling over. I had only ever seen photos of Bali enticing would-be tourists to come to these far away sand swept shores. As an American, Bali has always been an unreachable exotic luxury island on the other side of the globe. Far too expensive and too far away for American tourists, it has always held an air of exclusivity. After marrying an Australian, I had come to realise that it’s a popular beach holiday destination for Australians – a sort of Cancun for antipodeans. This beach resort/ party town clashed with the images I […]

Exploring Bangkok with a family

Our time in Thailand was coming to an end. Christmas was coming, and we had a few days in Bangkok for shopping, catching up with old friends, exploring, and templing. From there we would head to Bali to share some vacation time with Mark’s brother and his family before going to Australia for the holidays. Sometimes it’s the people rather than the place From Chiang Mai we headed to the South Coast to Siracha to meet up with a London friend before heading back to Bangkok. Sadly, Siracha is not where they make the sauce – it’s made in NEW […]

The Elephant Tourism Conundrum

There are a whole lot of Elephant sanctuaries in Northern Thailand, and their keeping is somewhat controversial. Elephants have long been an integral part of Thailand’s culture and history.  The animals have been rescued from lives of service either in circus, tourist trade or as beasts of burden. They now live a bucolic life, taking walks in the jungle alongside mesmerised tourists, and getting a daily bath in a river from people who have paid for the privilege. When we first arrived in Thailand, visiting an Elephant rescue centre was high on our list of things to do. Of course […]

Pai anyone?

Where Chiang Mai was a hipster’s paradise, Pai, a couple hour’s winding drive to the north east is very much a bohemian enclave of harem pants, dreadlocks, vegan food, and just a whole lot of general chilling out. A funky little town situated on a quiet little river, Pai is a peaceful little stretch of earth northwest of Chiang Mai, full of travellers. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, whatever you like to do, you’ll find your tribe in Pai. Once a secluded hippie hideout, it’s now firmly on the backpackers trail, giving it a rich mix of cultures from travellers […]

Road tripping Thailand – Doi Inthanon National Park

The province of Chiang Mai is home to Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon. At 2,600m, it’s part of the Himalaya mountain range, and is situated in a massive National Park just a couple of hours’ drive outside the city of Chiang Mai. One of our favourite ways to explore a new place is to hit the open road and see where it takes us. So we rented a car, and pointed west, toward the mountains, and Doi Inthanon.  The 58km drive took about 2.5 hours. It was easy going on the highway out of Chiang Mai, but slowed to a […]

Perth for families

Perth. That Australian city on the far western edge of a continent, out there all by itself. Is it on your bucket list for family travel destinations? Well, it should be. Perth may not have the cafe culture of Melbourne, or the glittering landmarks of Sydney, but I would argue that it rivals and even beats the beaches of the Gold Coast, and the weather is far nicer than Queensland. From the hills to the south, to hip inner city life, and all of the wide sandy beaches along the entire length of the city, Perth is an amazing family […]