Kenya Lodges: Maasai Mara and Amboseli

Mara Serena Lodge

Mara Serena Lodge in Maasai Mara was the most unique hotel I’ve ever stayed at. I loved how vibrant the lobby and rooms were, it reminded me of The Flintstones. This was my favorite place to stay out of all of the lodges because it was elevated at a very high point with a view of the safari below. It was like the whole lodge was a viewing deck.

I enjoyed how the animals could come close to my balcony. There was no barrier between us and the safari, so animals could roam up to the lodge. I was informed not to leave my doors open because Baboons come in and steal your stuff. The first day I was there, I was looking out my window when I saw a bunch of baboons rush out of the room next to me with fruit in their hands. I laughed so hard because it was such a unique thing to see.

The restaurant was nice and always had buffet style like all of the lodges I stayed at. This restaurant had the best options of food. At night, I drank cocktails and wine by the bar lounge with live music played by a wonderful Kenyan musician.

The pool was amazing because you could just lounge, tan, and look out to the horizon. I would definitely recommend staying here if you are traveling to Maasai Mara.

 

 


Sarova Mara Game Camp

We drove 8 hours through Maasai Mara to get to this camp. It had glamping tents, a nice pool, and restaurant. The room was cozy with a wooden roof, sides made of tent, and a zipper as a door. At night I would hear the sound of animals but it was quite relaxing.

The restaurant was very large and had a great buffet spread. The camp grounds were spacious and beautiful. The entire camp had a barrier around it to keep wild animals out. I could see the clear difference between the greenery within the walls of the camp, and the desert-like land separated by the fence. This was because the grass and plants were able to grow without animals grazing through them.


Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge

We took a flight from Maasai Mara to Nairobi and drove for 6 hours to get to Amboseli. This lodge was near the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. This lodge had red as its theme, which really fit the dry land that surrounded it. The pool area was relaxing and was near a viewing point where you could see animals grazing just nearby. The rooms were relaxing and well equipped.

I spent my last night in Kenya here and enjoyed the afternoon by drinking wine by the pool and watching the animals.

Julia Quisumbing

Advertisements

Bangkok | Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn

When you go to Bangkok, it is necessary that you see one of the large temples. It was my first time to visit the city, so I decided to go to Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn.

There is an entrance fee of THB 50 per person and the temple is open daily from 8:30am – 5:30pm. To enter a temple in Thailand, men and women must cover their shoulders and knees. I was very comfortable in my outfit and glad it went well with the style and architecture of the temple. Click here to read more about my outfit of the day.

Wat Arun is situated by Chao Phraya River. The tall structure was easy to walk around because it wasn’t very wide. You could go up one of the staircases and walk around the structure at a higher level. There were also stairs going up to the top of the temple, but sadly it was barred off during my visit. The stairs were steep which made the temple look more tall and narrow. Overall, Wat Arun was beautiful and uniquely made. I’d love to get up early one day before sunrise, sit across the river, and see why it’s called “Temple of Dawn”. I’m guessing it lights up beautifully by the sun. It is also nice to walk over to the Chao Phraya River, grab a boat to the other side, and have lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants with the beautiful view of Wat Arun.

IMG_5868 IMG_5584-01IMG_5841 (1)IMG_5592Maker:L,Date:2017-9-27,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-ve


My boyfriend, Gui, thought we should look around to see what more we could find. We stumbled upon a smaller temple while walking through the grounds of Wat Arun. We were pleasantly surprised with rows of golden Buddha. The visual symmetry was pleasing and created a calm ambiance. There were Buddhist Monks walking around, cleaning, and taking care of the temple. The center of the temple had a large structure surrounded by statues of beasts and pillars with touches of gold everywhere.

I enjoyed our little discovery and our time at Wat Arun. I’ve always seen this temple on flight promotions and in photos of Thailand so I am happy to have visited it.

Untitled-2IMG_6016Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

 

Julia Quisumbing

Bangkok | Thai Tea Shaved Ice Dessert

Out of all of the desserts that I tried in Bangkok, the Thai Tea Kakigori at After You Dessert Cafe was my ultimate favorite! It was a delicious tall bowl of flavored Thai Tea shaved ice with a sweet cream on top, and a side of extra Thai Tea to pour on top.Untitled-3

The center of the bowl had gelatin making it extra unique.

If you’re going to order this, make sure you are with someone to help you finish it off. My boyfriend Gui and I had a fun time devouring this and it definitely made our evening especially memorable.

The following days, we would remind each other of this dessert in order to tempt the other to return for a second time. I am definitely going back to this cafe on my next trip to Bangkok.

After You Dessert Cafe can be found in many malls around Bangkok. I discovered it while I was walking around the 7th floor of Central World.

 

Julia Quisumbing

Bangkok | Renting a Motorcycle

My boyfriend Gui has been living and working as a model in Bangkok for the past month. I went to celebrate the New Year 2018 with him. His agency got him a condo in Town in Town near many studios and casting agencies. It’s a local and quiet area with a lot of cute cafes and small businesses.

 

Motorcycle Rental – 3,500 Thai Baht/Month

It was my first time in Bangkok and I wanted a local experience, so we rented a motorbike for a month from a small shop I found on Facebook called Motorbike Rent.

The cheapest rates for a motorbike went from:

  • Daily – 250 Baht
  • Weekly – 1,500 Baht
  • Monthly – 3,500 Baht

We rented a motorbike for a month, costing us just 3,500 Baht ($109). They also handed us 2 helmets to rent for free. For a full tank of gas it costs around 70 Baht ($2).  It definitely saved us money on transportation since I wanted to see a lot of the city. I’ve been trying to travel with a budget since I am currently renovating my 2-bedroom condo in BGC, Philippines.

Having a motorbike is a quick way to get past the traffic. At first it was scary but I got used to it in a couple of days. Gui is really skilled at driving through small spaces and in between cars. I wanted to learn how to drive so he taught me in the small streets of Town in Town, there was no way I was driving on the highway. Not only was I learning how to drive a motorbike, I was learning how to drive on the left side of the road which gets even more confusing! Every morning, Gui lets me drive to a cafe. I enjoy laughing while my hair smoothly whips him in the face. I had a lot of fun with this new experience and I was happy to hear from my agent that I can be presented for motorcycle modeling jobs since now I know how to drive!

 

Julia Quisumbing

Palawan | The Crystal Clear Lakes in Coron

There is one place in the world that never ceases to amaze me – Palawan. It is the ultimate tropical escape. I love all areas of Palawan but Coron has always drawn my attention because of it’s two crystal clear fresh water lakes that hide behind tall rock formations, Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake.

img_8628.jpg

IMG_8129

Barracuda Lake is every free-diver’s dream because it plummets from the surface following the beautiful walls of rock to dark depths. The fresh water allows your body to sink quickly like you were wearing weights. See my video below or click here to see how easily I sink in Barracuda Lake. The air in my lungs help me float but once I release air slowly I gradually sink faster and faster. The underwater video and photos were taken with my GoPro Hero 4.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0811.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0794.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0816.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR0816.

It’s great to snorkel in the area and even better to scuba dive. It feels as if you were exploring the moon. There are also these cute little flute fish that stroll past you when you’re in the water.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0692.

IMG_6147

After the underwater adventure, it’s nice to grab a life jacket and float out to the deeper end to get a 360 view of the entire lake. This is where I like to lay back and relax. It’s fun in a scary way not knowing exactly what is below you. Since they say there are Barracuda in the lake, don’t wear anything shiny because they might think you are the silvery fish that they prey on. Well, I’ve worn shiny things in that lake before but nothing has happened to me, yet!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0832.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0831.

To get to Barracuda lake you take a short wooden staircase up and through the rock formations. Kayangan Lake is a higher hike, just a 5-10 minute walk up the steep mountain where you can take a beautiful shot of the view from the top, then climb down to the lake.

img_8072.jpg

Each lake has a wooden walkway for people to sit, hang out, or put their things while in the water. This site leaves you feeling relaxed and full of wonder. Even though you know many people come to this lake every day, it still seems like you have just discovered one of the most incredible places in the world.

smilecoron2199-copy.jpg

Coron Tour Tip:

Book a banka boat tour and make sure your package consists of Barracuda Lake, Kayangan Lake, Black Island, and one of the sunken shipwrecks. If you have to choose between lakes, I suggest making Barracuda Lake your top priority. It’s definitely worth it! Before getting on the boat, rent fins and masks with a snorkel because you’re going to want to see the beauty beneath the surface.

smilecoron2706-copy.jpg

smilecoron2719-copy-e1512317128533.jpg

IMG_2928

Fresh Food from the Wet Market

During your day tour, you’ll need to take a break for lunch. There won’t be any restaurants on the islands so head to the wet market in Coron Town before boarding your boat. Buy fresh seafood, meat, fruits, and vegetables. I always like getting Crab, Prawns, Fish, Pork (Liempo), rice, squash, carrots, zucchini, and mango. Buy soy sauce and mix it with Calamansi for a delicious dipping sauce. The boatmen can grill your food at any island you wish to stop at. I usually look out for the white sand beaches with huts and tables. Freshly grilled seafood on a tropical island is the most satisfying way to eat!

Coron Shipwrecks

Once you’re done eating, it’s time for more exploring! I usually head to one of the Coron shipwrecks. There is a shipwreck near Barracuda Lake that is shallow enough for snorkelers to see. If you’d like to go scuba diving, there are deeper and larger shipwrecks to explore in the area.

If you stop by Black Island, there’s a small cave that holds a little pond of water situated behind the beach.

All of the sights and experiences you can have in Coron are mesmerizing and thrilling. I’ve been there several times and it always seems like the photos I have taken or the memories I have never do justice. In my opinion, Palawan is one of the top destinations in the world and I plan to return many times.

Julia Quisumbing