family-travel
3 days in cape town south africa

Cape town, like many other places i've been, has AMAZING scenery. On top of that, it has the cutest sea animals, and awesome food. Yes, all the makings of a perfect holiday!
It took be sometime to get these pictures and videos edited, but this trip is so deeply etched in my mind, it feels as if it was just yesterday that I came off the airplane.

Cape Town was the first stop of my family's South African trip. The fact that I went with my family made it a whole lot more memorable.
Most people do a really short pitstop in Cape town, that when I first saw my itinerary (we were on a group tour), I was reluctant to spend 3 and a half days in Cape Town. After arriving at cape town I was so glad that was the plan.

Sure it is no safari, but, I loved Cape town. It's weather, scenery, lifestyle, people, activities. There was so much to see and so much to do. Also, going in the summer time meant that the weather was PERFECT. Warm sunshine, 15-20°C, no rain, with a cool occasional breeze!

amazing scenery in cape town south africa
things to do in cape town south africa
summer time in cape town south africa
images of table mountain cape town south africa scenery and attractions
images of ostritch farm, plants and nature in cape town south africa

We began our trip heading up Table Mountain. In the first 20 minutes of being in Cape Town, I WAS MESMERISED. Other places we went with just as impressive of a view was Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.

I've been to Santorini, another city that has stunning views of the ocean. But something about this crazy beautiful views in Cape town took my breath away.
The mountains, the ocean, the waves all merged into one picture perfect postcard view. (Dare i say, more perfect than Greece!)

markets in cape town south africa
street stalls and souvenirs in cape town south africa

Walking along the streets of cape town was just as much of a treat to the eyes. We got to see so many family run stalls, lovely fabric, paintings, artwork, souvenirs.
I'm not a person who collects such souvenirs, but when I see such cute souvenirs, I imagine I'm this rich woman, with a big home,  and a ton of travel collectables. There were definitely some things I mentally added to my non-existent "travel home" as decoration.

things to do and places to visit 3 days in cape town south africa

Visiting a wine cellar before having a wine tasting session in cape town! Watch the vlog below for more details!

things to do, bout tour, seal island and cape point animals in cape town south africa
scenery at table mountain, cape point, cape of good hope incape town south africa
cape point, table mountain, cape of good hope images in cape town south africa
top destinations in cape town south africa
seals in seal island and boulders beach cape town south africa
things to do seal island, animals, safari cape town south africa
summer time in cape town south africa what to do, things to see, animals, seals, seal island penguins boulders beach
seals lazing around in cape town south africa

Seal Island and Boulders Beach.
Two of the most popular spots for animal sightings. I felt so much joy watching these seals bobbing around and swimming in the water or laying out on the rock, just chilling & enjoying some good ol' sunshine.

Watching penguins interact was another cool experience. The tour guide I was with was pointed out which were the baby penguins, teenager penguins and adult penguins. Perks of going on a tour! My tour guide also shared how penguins mate for life. The epitome of monogamy. Once they find a life partner, they're set. And apparently, if their spouse dies, they'd take their own life too. Tragic. But this is more than till death do us part.

My only encounters with animals comes from seeing them in the zoo, and we all know those animals are never as happy as when the ones that are out in the wild.

seeing penguins at cape town south africa where to see animals, how to get to boulders beach, boulders beach, beach attractons
boulders beach in cape town south africa penguin rescue
cape town south africa boulders beach, seal island, penguins, what to do in south africa, attractions
animals, penguins and seals boulders beach cape town south africa
images of boulders beach, where to go in cape town south africa, attraction and things to do, beaches, beach
south african penguins, top destinations, attractions, cape town south africa boulders beach

Another amazing thing we got to do as part of our tour was to go on a helicopter ride. An experience i've NEVER done considering most of my trips consisted of backpacking around Europe and being very budget conscious.
Helicopter ride. Aerial view. Do i need to say more? If you've never been on a helicopter ride, this is it. This would be the highlight, the MUST-DO, of the trip.
* Someone told me that the helicopter ride he took in New Zealand was way more impressive, to which I had an internal eye roll. Urgh. these people who have so much in life that they fail to appreciate little things... (i kid, but really this was the highlight for me!)

aerial view, helicopter ride, table mountain in cape town south africa
helicopter ride at NAC in cape town south africa

To be honest, I don't think I did anything out of the ordinary or visited any place exceptionally off-the-beaten path on this trip. But I must say, the boat ride to seal island, the wine tasting, the beautiful scenery, the helicopter ride, these are experiences i've never really had in my other trips. Even though the places I went are coined as classic tourist spots, I felt like it was worth visiting. Granted, i was never caught in a crowd, so that probably added to the great experience.

People constantly mention how they want to travel "like the locals" or go on about the whole "Traveller not tourist" concept, but there are times (like this) when tourist spots are NOT to be missed. Especially if you don't have the time to stay for long in each place. There is a reason why tourist spots are tourist spots. Because to some extent, they are worth visiting.

scenery at cape of good hope top destinations in cape town south africa

I've been lucky enough to visit many amazing places around the world, Japan, Korea, Norway, France, and now, SOUTH AFRICA. People ask me if i still get excited when I see amazing scenery, and when I get to experience new things. The excitement will eventually die down right? Wrong.

I think traveling isn't about comparing what you've seen. Or having the new best experience. It is the concept of seeing a new place, a new lifestyle, a new part of the world that excites me. It does not have to be spectacular, but every experience is definitely special in its own way. I may not want to re-visit certain places, but I never ever regret experiencing it.

Unlike my mentality towards some of the cities i've been to, if I am given the chance to visit South Africa again, i'm definitely going back to Cape Town.

3 day in Cape Town, South Africa

2 May 2017 Cape Town, South Africa

image of sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia

Sunrises. They are probably my favourite natural phenomenons. A new day, a new beginning, a fresh start. Each time I think about how the sun never fails to rise, and how fortunate it is to have the chance to be better to be more each day, I get a warm feeling in my heart.
There's something spiritual to sunrises, won't you agree?

sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia image
picture of sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia

One of the famous touristy things to do when visiting Siem Reap Cambodia is to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. As much as you might dislike doing touristy things, I think sunrises are never too touristy. There is no good enough reason to pass watching a beautiful sunrise.

We left our hotel around 5 am in the morning and headed for the temple; our driver came later than expected, which was such a bummer, as it started to get bright as we were heading to the temple.
I was so worried that i'd miss the opportunity to see the sunset.

NOTE: DO NOT Leave the viewing of the sunset to your last day of visit. 
I thought I was being logical for doing so, especially since the last day in Cambodia was a short one (I had an early afternoon flight), but bear in mind that sometimes things happen, and don't go as planned, so always have 1 back up day!

sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia pictures
sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia singapore travel blog
sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia travel blog image
sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia travel blog

In my previous post: 3 Famous Temples in 1 Day, I mentioned how the mornings and nights were really cloudy but the afternoons are crazy hot. Thankfully, despite the cloudy mornings, we still got to see a pretty decent sunrise.

The good thing about watching the sunrise when I was there (early may) was the lack of tourists. Since it was during a non-peak tourist season, we did not have to squeeze with tons of people just to catch a glimpse of the sunrise.

sunrise at angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia
angkor wat temple moat in the morning

After the sunrise, we headed back to our hotel for some breakfast. The tranquility of the Angkor Wat temple and its surroundings is just amazing at 6 or 7 am in the morning. Calm and beautiful.
The opportunity to witness sights like these is the reason why traveling is such an important part of me, it really does bring balance and centralisation to soul.

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Sunrise Over Angkor Wat

17 June 2016 Angkor Wat Basin, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia

From my previous post, you would probably be able to tell that my Cambodia trip was a more chilled out, enjoy, no rush kind of trip. Pretty different from how I travel when i'm traveling alone.
Hanging out with daddy (or mum - any parent really) means there is no need to rush, thats just the way we prefer group trips.

Cambodia has always, ALWAYS been a place I wanted to visit. I've always wanted to go the Angkor Wat temple. I've always imagined it to be like some archaeological site, cum Dora-the-explorer-come-to-life, cum all that Tomb Raider coolness. Alas, life is not a movie. It was still really cool though. Just less the movie effects.

ANGKOR WAT TEMPLE

angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia

Angkor Wat temple was the first place temple we visited. Before going to cambodia, I did not realise that the Angkor region isn't just a temple, it's a WHOLE COMPLEX. A MASSIVE COMPLEX.
Some people are able to go through temples like... I don't even. They do 10 temples in a day! How?
I for one will never be able to do that, because I wouldn't be able to digest everything I see.

the moat around angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia

Since Angkor Wat is a protected area, despite all the rivers drying up in the summer, the moat is ALWAYS filled with water. This moat around the entire complex is a protection. Restricted access, so that people can't go into the temples and steal things (that happened in the past).

Angkor Wat Temple is the biggest temple in the complex, and although it's not the cheapest, to be able to fully appreciate the temple and history fully, i'd recommend getting a guide on site when you get to the temple, at least for the massive temple. Wouldn't have known about the moat if I didn't get a guide!

roof top view angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia
top of the temple view angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia

Lots of people recommend not spending the money ($15-20) because you can read the facts on your own. Unless you're the kind that reads up about the history of places before visiting them, I doubt you'd get much value from visiting Angkor Wat Temple without a guide. I'm more of an audio learner, so i'm usually pro audio/people guides.
*Note: At least for the big Angkor Wat Temple, I think it was worth getting a guide! Smaller temples you can do without, or just eavesdrop on other people's guides. I understand mandarin, so I did lots of mandarin tour guide eavesdropping from passing Chinese tour groups. 
ootd and the carvings on the angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia  and its details

Our Angkor Wat Temple guide brought us through the temple, explained the legend behind the carvings, pointed out which images depicted the good guys and which were the bad guys, how immortality was shown in these carvings and the symbolism of different statues found in the temples.
*Note: When visiting temples or places of worship, always wear something that is appropriate. And check before you leave! Dad and I had to repack THANKFULLY, when I told him about the temple dress codes after finding out 1 day before our trip!
details and wall carvings of legend and immortality angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia
angkor wat temple siem reap cambodia

The entire tour of the Angkor Wat temple took my dad and I roughly 2 hours or so, because we went to all the different levels and saw as much as we could. Thankfully it was the low season, so temples weren't crowded. Apparently they get up to 7000 visitors in a day during the peak period. How insane.
Even though getting a guide was kind of expensive for 2 people (you pay a fixed price, so if you go in a bigger group the better!) I'm glad daddy persuaded me to spend that little bit of money at least for the big Angkor Wat Temple.



Since we had a late start to the day, by the time we got done with Angkor Wat Temple, it was time for lunch. After lunch, we went to what is probably one of my favourite temple, called Ta Prohm.

TA PROHM

Ta Prohm temple siem reap cambodia and its beautiful trees

If you've read my blog post and kept up with my different adventures, you'd know that even though i'm a city girl, I LOVE nature sights while traveling. These tall beautiful trees surrounding the Ta Prohm temple made this little temple my favourite one among all the temples i've visited.

tall trees and roots of the Ta Prohm temple siem reap cambodia
Ta Prohm temple siem reap cambodia

You see that little green shrub? That was located at the roof of a temple structure, and from that little shrub, an insanely tall tree will grow. One with roots that will creep along side the temple walls all the way to the ground.

Wanna know how Alice in Wonderland felt after taking the shrinking potion? Visit this temple!

beautiful tall trees Ta Prohm temple siem reap cambodia
Ta Prohm temple siem reap cambodia
Ta Prohm temple siem reap cambodia


Compare us and the trees or the temple structure. The roots of the tree itself is probably 3 or 4 times my height. I mean, I'm short, but my dad is about 5'7 (170++ cm) and he too looks tiny beside those tree roots!

monk walking in Ta Prohm temple siem reap cambodia

BAYON TEMPLE

buddha heads on tomb raider filming site bayon temple, siem reap cambodia

The last famous temple of the day was Bayon Temple, the temple where Angelina Jolie filmed Tomb Raider when Cambodia first opened its doors to visitors several years back.

tomb raider filming site bayon temple, siem reap cambodia

From the pictures in this post, you can tell that these 3 famous temples are all very different.
Bayon temple, unlike the other 2 temples, had HUGE buddha heads as part of its structure.
The top of the temple were filled with 4 faced buddha structures made out of individual stones pieced together. How impressive is that!

bayon temple, siem reap cambodia

*Note: Don't get scammed by the people who offer to take photographs of you in this temple, because they'd make you give them a tip after doing so. I saw it happen to someone else.

bayon temple, siem reap cambodia
bayon temple, siem reap cambodia

At the bottom of the Bayon Temple, you'll see window like structures and beautiful carvings on the walls of these "windows".
Some people were sitting and stepping all over them just to take photographs, but I over heard another guide saying in mandarin how that is really disrespectful, and it actually destroys the carvings on the wall, especially since our hands have sweat and all sorts of the minerals that will degrade these stones and rocks.

bayon temple, siem reap cambodia
bayon temple, siem reap cambodia

After visiting these 3 temples, our driver asked if we wanted to see the sunset. So being a sunset lover, I said yes immediately, and we headed for the famous Phnom Bakeng, but not before passing by some animals and the filming session of a local TV show - which I'm convinced I saw an episode on TV later that night at the hotel!

cambodian movie filming with elephants and the temples bayon temple, siem reap cambodia

There were elephants and cameras, and some animal trainers too. They even smoked the area to prevent mosquitos from attacking the cast members.



Eventually, we headed up Phnom Bakeng, and got to catch the sunset. Well, technically we didn't because this time of the year is when the days are crazy hot and the nights get really cloudy. The opposite is probably true for the rainy season. During the rainy season, visitors will then get to see the sunset on Tonle Sap River - a place we skipped because rivers dry up during the summer.

pictures of sunset on phnom bakeng, siem reap cambodia
image of sunset on phnom bakeng, siem reap cambodia
beautiful sunset up on sunset on phnom bakeng, siem reap cambodia

Regardless, both my dad and I were glad that we chose to go to Siem Reap, Cambodia in May. Despite the really hot weather (VERY VERY HOT), we did not have to deal with massive tourist crowds, and for me, that makes traveling at a less ideal season worth it!

I'd highly advice people to visit in May, or maybe march or April when the crowds are dying down but the weather isn't too hot!

3 Famous Temples in 1 Day - Siem Reap, Cambodia

30 May 2016 Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

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