GESSELL + LEE: EXPAT LIFESTYLE & FAMILY TRAVEL

Gessell and Lee

Latest Posts

Winter Escape: 25 Places to Warm Up in Southeast Asia (part 4)

 

  1. Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is another bustling city of Vietnam, it’s easy to access the greenery at the nearby Hoan Kiem Lake or West Lake and a little further away Ba Vi National Park. To have authentic downtown experience, walk along the streets of its Old Quarter to admire the colonial architecture and enjoy the best traditional beef pho at Pho 49 Bat Dan.

  1. Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, a transitory town on the coast, in the middle of Vietnam, is famous for its relaxing environment and tailor-made clothing. This is the perfect place to kick back and have a drink. Hoi An turns it up each lunar cycle for a vibrant full moon party which fills the quiet streets with music, traditional plays, and colorful lanterns. Book early because the event draws quite a crowd.

  1. Sapa, Vietnam

Head north to Sapa for a bit more of a perspective on rural life. Sapa can get cold in the winter, however, this northern region shouldn’t be missed when visiting Vietnam. The impressive mountains surrounding this town offer a perspective view on rural living. It is home to indigenous tribes and a traditional lifestyle. Discover the Sapa Square for colorful handicrafts or head into the hills with the local guide group – a social enterprise run entirely by local women – Sapa Sisters.

  1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur has quickly become a destination hot spot. Because public transportation is easy and cheap, touring this bustling city is a walk in the park. After having the obligatory view of the Petronas Towers, head to Little India and Chinatown to experience this cultural amalgamation.

  1. Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is famous for having more than 2,000 Buddhist temples that are being restored to UNESCO standards currently. This rich and historical city gets a recent increase in tourism. It has catered to foodie travelers because the various cuisine from regions near and far have been settled here. One of the most notable is Sharky’s restaurant, an artisan eatery which focuses on locally grown produce and expertly produced cheeses.

The Best Traveling Destinations For Sports Fans (part 1)

 

With many sporting events that are taking place across the world, 2019 is a big year for sports. A Booking.com survey showed that sports can sway the traveling decisions, with 1 in 5 travelers planning their trips around hot sporting events.

However, what’s a game without game-day food? So, we’re listing some of the best foods to enjoy near each iconic sports destinations.

  1. Fenway Park – Boston

There are just a few things to define Bostonians as much as their love of the Boston Red Sox – their home baseball team. If you’re in Boston during the baseball season, you really should catch a game at Fenway Park, cheering for the team with the locals. On your way, grab a pepper sandwich and a famous sausage from one street vendor outside the stadium.

Where to stay: The Hotel Commonwealth, located just a short walk from Fenway Park, offers modern rooms, some of which can overlook the stadium. You can enjoy the fresh seafood dishes at the restaurant Island Creek Oyster Bar.

  1. Wembley Stadium – London

Renowned for its majestic art, fashion, and theater scene, London is a great destination to watch sporting events, too. Wembley, the soccer stadium, is one of the most favorite stadiums of the city and the largest in the UK. You can get a quick bite at one of the kiosks on the first and fifth levels of the stadium, with a selection including burgers and pizza, fish and chips.

Where to stay: Overlooking the Wembley Stadium and setting next to the Wembley Arena, the Hilton London Wembley features a rooftop terrace and a bar inspired by the world’s famous athletes who have played at the stadium.

  1. The Field of Dreams Movie Site© – Dyersville, Iowa

Despite not being a technical stadium, the Field of Dreams Movie Site© in Dyersville, Iowa is an iconic landmark for people who fall in love with the 1989 classic. If you’re looking for something to eat, Dyersville has a lot of family-style restaurants which can offer you a quick bite or a cup of coffee.

Where to Stay: The Field of Dreams Movie Site© house is available for nightly rentals for the first time. With the perfect view of the baseball field, it is the best place to stay to watch the annual softball game on Labor Day Weekend.

Winter Escape: 25 Places to Warm Up in Southeast Asia (part 3)

 

  1. Phetchaburi, Thailand

Phetchaburi has a rich history, mystical caves, and ancient temples which attract people from all over the world. If you are planning to visit Phetchaburi, make sure not to miss the Tham Khao Luang cave and Wat Kamphaeng Laeng, which dates back to the 12th Century Khmer architecture.

  1. Legian, Indonesia

Legian, locating on the famous Bali Island coast, is a must-visit spot in Indonesia. It is sandwiched between the backpacker Kuta beaches and the high-end Seminyak. In Legian, entertainment and accommodations are mid-range priced while the scenery and surf are really priceless. You should spend time on catching the sunset at TAO Rooftop Bar and then dancing the night away at Eikon.

  1. Ubud, Indonesia

People who have read the famous book Eat, Pray, Love will recognize that Ubud, Indonesia is the setting for the journey conclusion of Elizabeth Gilbert. In fact, this part of Bali Island coast truly is as romantic as it seems in her story. Whether it’s simply getting in touch with nature or a spiritual quest, Ubud always has something special for everyone. You can make the plan for a yoga class when venturing over to White Lotus or to see the iconic rice terraces.

  1. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay has the incredible topography which makes it become an iconic destination of Vietnam. Massive land structures shooting straight the blue-green ocean provide an otherworldly view when visitors cruise through by boat. One of the best in deals you should take is Dragon Legend tours. Try kicking back for an overnight trip to explore caves and feast on fresh and delicious seafood.

  1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Busy streets with revving scooters and food stalls let you know that you’ve arrived in Vietnam. Especially, The Gustave Eiffel designed the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Central Post Office let you know that you’re in Ho Chi Minh City. Frequently referred to as Saigon up to now, this city with a controversial past is a vibrant and modern destination nowadays.

 

3 Benefits of Traveling With Your Team

 

If you’re an athlete or a coach, you may have got familiar with long trips to weekend games, or perhaps the flight to regional tournaments. Playing sports is a really big commitment, and athletes or coaches often miss out on the other types of traveling opportunities due to their dedication to the game.

However, athletic directors and coaches can combine the passion for sports, traveling, and community service into one trip so that athletes can bond over assisting the local communities with the team’s important projects, learning cross-cultural sportsmanship with the locals, as well as exploring the incredible sites around them.

Whether it is a high school football team or a middle school swimming team, here are five great benefits of taking your group of athletes on an immersive and purposeful traveling program:

  1. Team-Building

Traveling together makes a great impact on a young athletes group. The bonds created by mixing cement for a water tank in a village, participating in a course in the jungle, or holding a sports clinic for younger athletes can benefit all teams members. The opportunity to spend time with athletes without the pressures of practicing and competition can help coaches more understand about their athletes on the individual level, and create the chances for teammates to share a unique and life-changing experience.

  1. Cross-cultural Connections
    Athletes don’t need to speak the same language to communicate their love for the sports. Playing with and against the other teams from other cultures and nations can highlight the particular meaning of a sport to a community, and discover how it relates to playing back home. Coaches and athletes can even make friends with new people or pick up some new language skills along the way.
  2. New Competition

Playing sports in another region or country means the chances of new competition and new skills. Whether it’s a game of volleyball in Cambodia, baseball in the Dominican Republic, or football in Costa Rica, there’s always a unique opportunity to share experience and skills from athletes around the world.

 

Winter Escape: 25 Places to Warm Up in Southeast Asia (p2)

5. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

There is a new wave of youthful enthusiasm: making a country rocked by genocide become a new era. You can gain your historical knowledge at Royal Palace or Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and then come back to the present by enjoying a cultural evening at Meta House with a sunset dinner by the side of Mekong River. Embrace the daily lives of Russian Market and try tasting a traditional Khmer meal at Eleven One Kitchen.

6. Chiang Rai, Thailand

Besides the sandy beaches of Thailand, Chiang Rai is the northern city which is said to be the perfect stopping point for the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia between Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. There is more than one reason for travelers to visit Chiang Rai, concluding its stunning landscapes, aornate temples, and the best khao soi soup at Phor Jai restaurant also.

7. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is stick to food and temples for the daytime experience and to the parties for the nighttime experience. The Grand Palace should be taken on every foodie’s list. The most popular backpacker nightlife of Bangkok is on Khao San Road, but if you want to avoid this type of crowd, the better choice is Sukhumvit Soi 11.

8. Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Bordering Myanmar in the North of Thailand, Kanchanaburi is more than just a stopover destination. It is suitable for the outdoor adventures with Erawan National Park and Sai Yok National Park, which provide some of the best hikes, waterfalls, and cave exploration of Thailand.

9. Krabi Province, Thailand

Krabi is all about the coastal life with white sand beaches, full moon parties, and overwater cliff climbing. It has summoned travelers from all parts of the world for more than two decades. Visit Krabi and go swimming at Phra Nang Beach, paint yourself neon on Koh Phi Phi, and catch a sunset in Kantiang Bay.

Winter Escape: 25 Places to Warm Up in Southeast Asia

Do you hate the cold? Travel to tropical Southeast Asia on its best season. Here are 25 must-visit sites, cities, and islands.

  1. Kampot, Cambodia

Known as the favorite weekend getaway destination in Cambodia, Kampot is a worth reprieve from Phnom Penh’s chaos. Eco resorts such as Eden Eco Village and Ganesha line the river while secret waterfalls and lakes abound are suitable for early morning swimming and canoeing. Rent a motorbike and take a drive on the winding roads of Bokor Mountain or lead to the organic pepper farm of La Plantation.

  1. Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia

Near the border of Thailand, just off the coast of Cambodia, Kong Rong Sanloem is unaffected by the worries of city life. Staying at places like Saracen Bay Resort or Lazy Beach hotel gives you the chance to enjoy white sand beaches and a full view of the Gulf of Thailand. Try sunset cocktails for full vacation mode.

  1. Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Visit the Mondulkiri’s forest and experience a Cambodia which most travelers never know exists. This oasis is full of waterfalls, hikes, and winding paths for motor riding and is said to be one of the best-kept secrets of Cambodia up to now. The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) protects a substantial amount of the oasis and there are eco-accommodations such as Nature Lodge which make the environment here a priority.

  1. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Best-known for the temples of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap has quickly developed to be a bustling city. The famous pub street with its competing street parties attracts all sorts of visitors while the town’s edges are home to more docile retreats. Bees Unlimited, a guide to protecting the local bees and honey, and Artisans Angkor, a silk farm providing free tours and a social business concept, give the experience to explore modern Cambodia.

 

Top 6 Best Countries To Travel Alone In 2019

The dream to travel around the world always lingers in the mind of many people. Here are the best-traveling destinations based on some criteria such as culture, ease of transportation, safety, and suitable for traveling alone in 2019:

  1. Bali Island, Indonesia

Indonesia is one of the cheapest countries to visit. Staying in a comfortable room, being served three meals a day with a few beers for only $25 per day! Accommodation, service, food and drink are cheap everywhere, especially when you go further to the North.

  1. Scotland

Scotland is a popular destination famous for whiskey, wildlife, landscape,  and welcoming locals. Traveling here gives you the chance to engage with nature, watch the tumbling rivers, epic scenes, and wild camping.

  1. Italy

Italy is one of the most romantic traveling destinations in the world. It has many beautiful spots with hilltop towns, olive trees, and extensive beaches. Italy is also famous for the wine-cooked barbecues and abundant wine.

  1. Vietnam

Vietnam is a must-visit country in Asia with friendly locals, vibrant landscapes, affordable services, and cheap food (must try the Bun Cha). Cab services here are about $10 compared to cab services in the states which can get up to $30 for a couple of blocks away.

  1. France

People don’t talk about France without mentioning the Eiffel tower. It helps you get the most incredible view of France at night. Book your trip earlier in order to avoid the long lines to the tower.

The Notre Dame and its surrounding will intrigue Catholics or historians with its ancient mummified cats, while Les Invalides military shows all world war weapons types.

  1. South Africa

One of the main cities to visit in South Africa is Johannesburg, which is known as the City of Gold. It is also the heart of entertainment, shopping, and City adventure. The Kruger Park, 250 miles from the city, is one of the most significant game reserves in Africa.

 

8 Tips for Traveling With Baby

Traveling with baby is like traveling with a rock band: it’s all about tote and carries. So you have to prepare well. If you are prepared ahead of time, you and your child will be best suited for a successful travel experience.

  1. If you travel by plane, book a seat that has a bassinet connection, and another separate seat for your older child, if needed. During the pre-boarding phase, pre-board the bassinet, then de-board until it’s closer to take-off time. This way, the bassinet is ready to go, you and your child can use the extra 30 minutes walking around instead of seating on the crowded plane.
  2. Bring some non-perishable snacks and fluids with you. Keep baby hydrated because airplanes are dry. You should also bring a sippy cup or bottle in order to suck on to help relieve air pressure for your baby, especially during take-off and landing.
  3. Bring lots of extra clothing and diapers. Dress your baby in layers that can be taken off easily if your child gets hot, or layered back on if he gets cold. Whether you travel by plane or by car, messes can happen, so always have extra outfits and diapers easily accessible.
  4. Bring favorite sleeping items of your child, maybe his favorite toy, favorite blanket, or favorite pillow, anything that makes him comfortable and cozy. If traveling by car, you can use sun shades to block light out from the windows. All of these things can help your baby calm down and go to sleep.
  5. Bring wrapped toys, treats, or activities. I usually wrap up toys for my children, so that it takes time for them to open and keeps them occupied. This can be an exciting activity for a toddler, who will focus on whatever is hidden in a surprise package. Give him these toys when he starts getting tired or cranky so that you will have something exciting to distract him and pique his interest.
  6. Tell your baby stories about the countries or states you will visit. Pack a portable DVD or load apps or games on your smartphone. Thus, a family trip can also become a teachable moment.
  7. Don’t take trips that are longer than 6 hours. It’s unhealthy for Children to sit in a particular spot for long periods of time. If you travel by car, try to plan stops along the way that are safe, and allow you to walk around a bit.
  8. Always sit beside your baby. You are home to him, parents are everything. So if you travel by car, have one parent drive while the other one sits in the backseat with your child.

Five Best Places to Travel in Asia

From vast, islands, sprawling cities to ancient temples, Asia is one of the top travel spots in the world. With low visiting costs and an expanding tourism infrastructure, Asia has become a hot-spot destination for travelers from all over the world. Here are some of the best places to travel in Asia in no particular order.

  1. SEOUL

If you’re looking for a city that perfectly merges the old and the new, Seoul should be at the top of your list. The capital of South Korea is a smooth blend of contradictions by having both the modern streets and towering skyscrapers and ancient temples, shrines, and villages.

Seoul’s shopping districts stretch for miles and miles, with hot nightclubs in between. Besides, if you want to discover the country’s history, old Seoul is just a few paces away. You could spend hours touring the city’s five large palaces to see some more traditional wooden homes.

  1. HONG KONG

Hong Kong was a British colony up until 1997 when it was returned to China. It is not quite China and not quite British, that make the city blends both cultures to create a hub that is eastern but with roots deeply influenced by the west. Hong Kong has both sprawling, vibrant metropolis, and sandy beaches with plenty of fresh air. There are also some great museums, and plenty of bustling street markets to wander.

  1. TOKYO

If there is a word that describing Tokyo the best, it must be “animated”. Japan’s capital is constantly buzzing with movement – feet clacking down sidewalks, cars zooming along streets, subway trains humming below ground, ships cruising in and out. Visitors may hardly keep up with its bright lights, loud signs, and crowded streets. But travelers should enjoy Tokyo’s energy and unrivaled shopping scene, not to mention the world’s best sushi. On the other hand, one of the greatest things about staying in Tokyo is that many of the best sightseeing hotspots are free and cheap. Besides, the museums and historical sites in Tokyo are world-class.

  1. SINGAPORE

The city of Singapore, perhaps best known for its cleanliness, is the perfect place to take a relaxing holiday. The city maintains a remarkable balance of green space and skyscrapers, which has brought to this former British colony something special.

With clean streets and a dedication to preserving its traditions and connections to the world (like Chinatown, Little India, and some distinctly British-Colonial style architecture), Singapore is perfect for the trendy, culture-loving traveler. In addition, remember to spend your time exploring the city’s green spaces, like the Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The city also has some great shopping centers, especially on Orchard Road.

  1. MALDIVES

Miles from civilization in the Indian Ocean, this far destination is made up of about 1,200 islands with unparalleled white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, beautiful coral reefs,  and spectacular sunsets dipping into the horizon. The beauty of Maldives is something you can’t quite understand until you’re there yourself.

The Maldives is popular with both honeymooners, travelers seeking relaxation and adventurers who want to explore the depths of the sea. However, getting to and staying in this tropical paradise requires a big budget.

3 Cool Fireplaces in Amsterdam

My latest video for Amsterdam Calling is perfect for anyone in Amsterdam this winter. I explore three very interesting hangouts with pretty cool looking fireplaces.

Mr. Porter
Located in the W Amsterdam Hotel, Mr. Porter is very beautifully decorated in gold. The view over Dam Square is breathtaking. You can even relax in a rooftop pool! Food and drinks your thing? They have some amazing cocktails and are also known for having top notch steaks.

Pressroom
You’ll find Pressroom in the INK hotel. Relax in a cosy living type space in what was once a place where newspapers were made. Offers great drinks in a chill atmosphere.

5 & 33
Very hip decor with sculptures you won’t find anywhere else. 5 & 33 offers a spacious bar with a variety of cocktails and delicious popcorn to go with them.