Thursday, April 11, 2013

We're Off To: Southeast Asia

Hello all. I know we've been a little back and forth on our one "big" trip. We toyed around with the idea of the Phillipines, Indonesia, and Australia/New Zealand. After much research and many conversations including the phrases "oh my gosh, we can go there for HOW little?" and "let's just make a decision already", we have once again come back to the original plan of Southeast Asia! What it really came down to was that this was our first choice. All of those other options are still definitely on our constantly increasing wishlist.

Hotels have been booked (refundable, of course), visas obtained, and air travel is standby.

Our itinerary:

3 days in Bangkok, Thailand

4 days relaxing in paradise aka Koh Samui, Thailand

2 days in Hanoi, Vietnam

2 days cruising in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia

2 days of travel (really 3 due to time differences)

= 16 days in SE Asia!

People who are used to traveling in Europe and the Caribbean, beware! Visas are a pretty common thing for most other countries. The application process to obtain a visa for Vietnam is crazy. Either you go to a city with a consulate (Houston has one) between 9am-12pm Monday - Friday (so that's out), mail your passports, money order, and form to the consulate (I've heard horror stories of passports getting lost), or get your hotel to provide you with a Visa on Arrival for the "small" fee of $25/person. That doesn't include the stamping fee of $45/person. The whole ordeal probably took about 3 weeks to obtain.

By contrast, Cambodia's application is online and costs $23/person. We got our visas in 2 days. Thailand doesn't require a visa for tourist travel less than 30 days. Call me goofy, but I always ALWAYS check country information ( before traveling anywhere outside of the US. We might have been in big trouble otherwise!

Other than that, I've really enjoyed the planning process. We're even getting to knock off 2 items from our bucket list. We're in San Francisco right now, hoping to catch an early morning flight. On one hand, I'm getting crazy excited...on the other, I'm preparing myself for the realistic possibility that we might get there a day or two late. I don't think I will really allow myself to get excited until we're on that second flight to Bangkok.

Well, wish us luck, and hopefully we'll see you in 2 1/2 weeks USA!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kansas City, MO

Jason and I had a wedding to attend for a college friend, so we took a quick weekend trip to the Midwest. Jason had been to Kansas City before, but only for work, so I went to scouring the internet for the best things to do in the few hours we would have before the wedding started.

First thing's first - we HAD to try some BBQ! Oklahoma Joe's seemed like the most-loved option. There was already a line when we arrived at 11am. It was honestly fine, but nothing special. I got the Z Man Sandwich with brisket and an onion ring, and while the idea was good, the brisket just wasn't up to "Texas" standards. Jason got some ribs which were quite yummy!

Next up, we did a tour of the Boulevard Brewing Company. Jason and I had been fans of this beer for a while, so we thought we could spend a perfect afternoon here. Holy waitlist! We quickly found out that tickets for the free tour are scooped up MONTHS (like 4) in advance. I'm glad I plan everything early because the Unfiltered Tour (paid) opened up to sales 1 month in advance. We got super lucky and snatched tickets to this before they sold out within 5 minutes! A girl on our tour said she tried for a year and 1/2 to get on our tour!

We arrived here after our BBQ lunch and the tour started at noon. There was a lady from the Kansas Star newspaper taking pictures of our tour, so we may be famous in a few weeks :) The tour lasted an hour and a 1/2 and in that time, we had 6 beers. We tried a beer not in production yet, 80 Acre hoppy wheat (my favorite), Tank 7 in their Smokestack Series, Long Strange Tripel, Dark Truth Stout, of course, their Unfiltered Wheat. I really enjoyed every single one. It was so fun and we're really glad we splurged for the paid tour. We even got a souvenir glass to take home.

After our beer tour, we headed over to see Kelly and Zach get married. It was a great night - congrats you two! For only having 1 night in KC, I think we did some great things! I think after this weekend, I will need a detox though...

The next morning, we caught a quick flight back to Dallas. Our weekend was short, but we had lots of fun. In just a few days, we are leaving on our big trip. Stay tuned to see what our plans are!