Paris With the #jamesgang

Posted on: March 26, 2017

DSC_0588

DSC_0589

DSC_0585

DSC_0592

IMG_0936

DSC_0609

DSC_0347 DSC_0352

IMG_0805

IMG_0937

IMG_1062

 

IMG_0941

My last Paris recap post! I wanted to share a few more photos as well as the last bit of tips for visiting Paris! Is it just us or is it SO HARD to get pics with your significant other unless they are selfies? I am not equipped enough to set up a tripod and I really don’t want to carry that around. I’m pre apologizing for the bad quality selfies and iphone photos! I don’t trust anyone with my nikon! #firstworldprobs

I know it is such a tourist move but we had to stop by Laduree and try the macaroons! They lived up to expectation and I am such a sucker for cute treats. The weather cleared up for a little bit (still freezing) and we walked up the Champs-Élysées towards the famous Arc De Triomphe. Our Paris Museum Pass (explained in this post) allowed us to climb up to the top and get an aerial view of the city. #worthit. As you can see it was raining and cold the ENTIRE trip so we are bundled nice and tight. #somuchformycuteoutfits. Of course we had to see the Eiffel Tower and we spent some time at the Catacombs of Paris and it was creepy. We waited in line for about 45 mins but I would say it was worth the wait. I’ve never seen so many real human bones and the sheer amount of them is mind boggling.

If any of you know us we are die hard Disney fans so we had to stop at Disneyland Paris! I was a little under whelmed but I do think it had to do with the time of year as well as most big things were closed. The park is gearing up for their 25 yr anniversary so we didn’t get to see it in all of its glory! I have heard from other Disney addicts they loved it so don’t let me deter you too much!

We stayed in this airbnb while touring the city and it was SO clean and SO modern. The host recently renovated the place and I wanted to move in full time! It is a bit out of the city, some of you may not love that, but it was right next to a metro stop and easy to head into the heart of Paris.

Have you been to Paris yet? What is your favorite spot?!

xoxo

signature

Paris [Tips for Visiting The Louvre]

Posted on: March 24, 2017

DSC_0432

IMG_0635

DSC_0377

DSC_0382

DSC_0427

DSC_0409

IMG_0653

Unfortunately our visit to Paris was filled with chilly weather and rain, but that didn’t stop us from seeing EVERYTHING! And I mean EVERYTHING.  My feet were dead by the end of the day and we didn’t waste one second. In my previous post I shared all the tips about seeing Versailles and other money saving tips and today I wanted to share a little bit more about The Louvre!

Anyone that has done The Louvre knows it is huge and impossible to see in a day. We decided to do a little research and find the “must sees” on our list. I highly suggest that. Without a plan, you could wander aimlessly through the museum and miss out on the most historical things to see.

Here is our top 10:

  1. The Mona Lisa
  2. Les Noces de Cana by Paolo Veronese
  3. Vénus de Milo
  4. The Winged Victory of Samothrace
  5. Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love by Antonio Canova
  6. Marly Horses (located in the most beautiful, bright section of the museum)
  7. Michelangelo’s Dying Slave
  8. Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix’s
  9. Great Sphinx of Tanis
  10. The Raft of the Medusa

Like I said, there is A TON to see! We gave ourselves a good part of the day to do the museum and you could always go back a second day if you want to see more!

If you are in the mood for a little more art, make sure to see the Musee d’Orsay too! One of my favorite museums I’ve had the privilege to see!

There you have! Comment below with any other Louvre tips!

xoxo

signature

Versailles [How To See it For Free and Other Free Admission Tips]

Posted on: March 16, 2017

 

DSC_0555

DSC_0552

DSC_0563

DSC_0523

PicMonkey CollageDSC_0513

DSC_0506

DSC_0532

DSC_0568

Bonjour! We snuck away for a little weekend in Paris and I thought I would share some money saving tips! Who doesn’t love to save money while traveling? So here are our #jamesgangtravels tips for museum hoping in Paris!

  • Before you book your trip, look at the dates you will be in Paris and jump online to see what days are free! The first Sunday of the Month November-March Versailles is FREE! The line to get in will be a little long so get there first thing in the morning! . It’s also FREE if you are under-18s, European Union residents under 26, schoolchildren, teachers in a French establishment with a Pass Education, disabled people and the person accompanying them, job seekers in France and recipients of minimum social benefits upon presentation of proof dated no more than 6 months previously, Ecole d’Art students.
  • These museums are also FREE on that first Sunday of the month!
    • The Louvre (There will be big line to get in since the admission is free so be prepared!)
    • Musee d’Orsay
    • Others listed here
  • Paris Museum Pass is a good option if you can’t make it to Paris the first Sunday of the month. You can purchase a 2, 4, or 6, consecutive days. The pass grants you special access to the following sites and museums listed here .  We didn’t know that Versailles and others were free that Sunday so we bought the pass. We used it at The Louvre, Notre Dame (free but it costs extra to climb to the towers and the pass covers that), Arc De Triomphe, Sainte-Chapelle, and we could’ve used it at Versailles had it not been a free day! It def saves you money in the long run!
  • The metro can get a little pricey too! Purchase a mulit day metro pass called the Paris Visite for the length of your stay. All of the landmarks you want to see will be in zone 1-3 and it only costs $12.93 per day!

I’ll be sharing a few more Paris tips in the next post so stay tuned! Great places to stay, eat, and Disneyland Paris!

xoxo

signature

Halong Bay [Vietnam Travel Tips]

Posted on: March 12, 2017

You guys! This is our LAST asian adventure post! It was a magical three weeks and I have all the tips in my previous posts about great Airbnb’s, Visa tips, and the best places to see! If you are taking a trip soon go check em out! We only had two days in Vietnam ( I would recommend a few more to see other cities) so we took the second day and headed out to Halong Bay. It is one of the 8 natural wonders of the world and a MUST SEE! Our #jamesgangtravels tips are below a few photos we took!

DSC_0068

DSC_0055

DSC_0072

DSC_0182

DSC_0130

DSC_0078

DSC_0070

DSC_0109

DSC_0119

  • There is no need for a place to stay! We just took a day trip from Hanoi!
  • Book your day trip when you arrive in Hanoi. We compared prices with another family who booked it online through trip advisor and they paid a bit more for the same thing. There are a ton of little “tour” shops on the streets so just find your favorite one!
  • Food is included! You can pay a higher price for better food with drinks included but we found the food to be just fine! I do suggest bringing your own bottled water!
  • Pack snacks. The bus ride is about 4 hours with a 30 min stop at a local tourist trap so bring something to eat and drink or else you may get stuck paying too much.
  • Take your camera. Halong Bay is simply stunning!!!!
  • Wear shoes you can walk in! The tour includes a stop through a huge cave that is really neat to explore.
  • Awesome day tour for families and couples alike!

xoxo

signature

Vietnam Travel Tips [Hanoi]

Posted on: February 27, 2017

DSC_1275

DSC_1266

DSC_1261

DSC_1246

DSC_1260

DSC_1232

DSC_1222

DSC_1241

DSC_0017

IMG_1919

DSC_1270

DSC_1284

DSC_1290

DSC_1267

DSC_1265

DSC_0004

DSC_0023

DSC_0040

 

A TON of gorgeous shots from our day in Hanoi! I was pleasantly surprised by how gorgeous it was and I couldn’t stop taking pictures! It was our last stop on the trip and by this point we were beat. Luckily we landed a great AirBnb that was actually a cute little hotel (listed below)! The streets were insane in Vietnam and there are no rules! Keep your eyes open when crossing the street or you may not make it home! We saw families of four on motos and even dogs riding as passengers. Asian culture is so different than what I am used to and it was a whirlwind! A crazy rush everywhere we went! What an adventure we had. Here are my tips for visiting Vietnam!

  • If you are an American Citizen, you are required to have a travel visa to visit the country. It is EXPENSIVE to get online and we don’t have a Vietnam consulate here in BCN. So we did some research and discovered that a few travel agencies in Siem Reap could take care of the visa process for us. We contacted 5 Oceans Co and they set it all up for us. We dropped off our passports, paid $50 (much cheaper than the $140 each online) and then picked them up a day later with the Visa! Super easy! If you are taking an Asia trip, look into local agencies where you are staying and most times they offer Visa help for the surrounding countries.
  • Only travel with a roller carry on and use Packing Cubes.
  • Stay Here. We LOVED this little Airbnb right next to the bustling night market and in the heart of the city!
  • Use UBER. Way easier than getting a cab and often times the cabs or tuk tuks will take advantage of you and over charge. We saved a bunch using UBER when we could!
  • Check out The Hanoi Social Club for breakfast or a tasty brunch! We actually went for dinner and it was delish. A super hipster environment with live music once a week. Be SMART about food and water! Only drink bottled water and shower with flip flops on. Be aware where you are eating and what’s in your food.
  • Things to see: Old Quarter, Hoa Lo Prison, Lake of the Restored Sword, and the Dong Xuan Night Market.

Feel free to comment below or reach out with any travel questions! I’d love to help anyone have the best trip possible!

xoxo

signature

Siem Reap Travel Tips [Angkor Wat]

Posted on: February 23, 2017

angkor37jess

angkor11

ankgormrvung

angkor45

angkor41jess

DSC_1075

angkorwatgirl2

angkor27

angkor46

angkorwatlake3

angkorcarson&jess

SRCarsontuk

angkorroots

angkorwattombcarson

DSC_0898

DSC_1101

We spent most of our time in Siem Reap at Angkor Wat wandering through the ruins. It’s the largest religious site in the world covering over 402 acres. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple of the God Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple toward the end of the 12th century. Our tuk tuk driver, Mr Vung, drove us around the entire complex for two days and I still don’t think we saw all of it! Ta Prohm, one of the more popular ruins, was actually where Tomb Raider was filmed! Kinda cool! Here is what we learned and some tips for Siem Reap!

  • I would recommend spending two days at Angkor Wat. We planned for three but we really didn’t need it!
  • Hire a tuk tuk driver for your time at Angkor Wat. You will need it to get around the huge area! A tour guide isn’t necessary (we didn’t use one) but is helpful for more information about the history.
  • Stay in an Airbnb! We stayed in this one and LOVED it! It included an airport pick up as well as breakfast and complimentary water!
  • Get a massage! Carson and I splurged at Mudita Spa for a day and it was super affordable for a couples package!
  • We spent a few hours our last day at the Silk Factory  and that is a great place for kids too!
  • Another fun spot we LOVED for dinner was Pub Street and the night markets!

Our time in Cambodia taught me two things. One, it takes very little to be happy. The people of Cambodia are living on basically nothing and yet happy. We had some conversations with Mr Vung about Cambodia’s history and it really but things in perspective. The genocide and continuous struggle seemed so far away in my history books, but being there made it real. Secondly, I learned it’s our responsibility to do our part to take care of the world. Once we have the means to support ourselves, look outside and find ways to support others!

Thank you Cambodia for opening your culture to us! We will never forget our time there!

xoxo

IMG_2007.JPG

Siem Reap [Silk Factory]

Posted on: February 20, 2017

Srsilklady

srsilk25

srsilk14

srsilk27

srsilk12

SRsiilk7

srsilk21

Srsilkbaby

srsilk24
DSC_1167

DSC_1161

DSC_1185

srsilkboy

DSC_1160

After we left the gorgeous beaches of Thailand, (I was tempted to stay forever), we traveled to Cambodia to tour Siem Reap. We spent a few days at Angkor Wat, which I will share soon, but one of my favorite stops was the silk factory. The factory employs locals and teaches them craftsmanship that will eventually become their full time work. It’s helpful for the community because most don’t have the education to find a decent job. The factory provides security for these people and their families! I was amazed at the detail and the amount of time it takes just to make one piece! These women have so much pride in their work and I am grateful we got to spend a few hour to witness it!

xoxo

IMG_2007.JPG

Rantong Elephant Save & Rescue

Posted on: February 1, 2017

Ranntong

YouTube Preview Image

I have been dying to share this with all of you! We shared the MOST INCREDIBLE day with the good people at Rantong Elephant Save & Rescue in Chiang Mai. We’d heard that most of the elephant “sanctuaries” weren’t sanctuaries at all and actually mistreated the animals. We came across Rantong by a recommendation from a friend and we were so happy to see such a great place with ethical practices. There are actually two camps at Rantong. One is for new moms and their little babies and the other is for the adult elephants and visitors. We didn’t get to see the “nursery”  since its pretty special and they try to avoid any disturbances for the new mamas. You’ll see one little guy and his mom in the video above and she actually has an interesting story. She was separated from her other babies while working with a performing circus so she has a large fear of separation. So… even though her little guy is basically a teenager, they keep them together to help her heal! They moved them to the “older” camp to help her regain her social skills with other elephants.

We got to spend the day with Wanwiza and her Mahoot. (I have no idea how to spell that…) The Mahoot is specific to one elephant and they will spend their entire lives together. The Mahoot builds trust and does EVERYTHING with their elephant. It’s their whole life and they become like family. To witness their day to day tasks with the elephants seems like a pretty amazing job. They live on site so their elephant is like a child they are responsible for. We learned a great deal about the rescue effort and what practices are safe/unsafe for an elephant. We got to feed, bathe, and ride Wanwiza and I was ready to take her home with us. I don’t know what it is about an elephant, but we felt this special bond with her all day. There were moments when she was taking us up a steep hill and I could feel her grip my legs with the back of her ears to make sure I was safe. I could be totally dreaming that up, but I will say there was something magnificent and magical being that close with one of gods amazing creatures.  What I really loved is their were no metal hooks to push and prod them, we went at their pace where they wanted to go. If you are making the trip to Chiang Mai, I highly recommend this place. Do your research and make sure you aren’t supporting a tourist trap that doesn’t end up benefiting the animals at all! I hope this gives you just a small taste of the best day of our lives (so far)!

xoxo

IMG_2007.JPG

 

 

Railay Beach

Posted on: January 25, 2017

B40C980D-B30F-470A-80B0-DC32DC17007E

railay30

railay39

raialay32

railay44

railayb21

railaypooljessie

IMG_0617

railayb

railay43

railay50
railaygang2

IMG_1605

railay29

My most favorite stop on our Asia adventure! Railay Beach is just a short boat ride from Krabi and I was tempted to cancel the rest of our trip and stay on the beach! Railay is the MOST beautiful beach we have been to (yet) and I would go back in a heartbeat. The water was warm, clear, and the richest color of turquoise. Delicious Thai food coupled with world wide influenced “street food” made for an authentic experience. We enjoyed our Christmas day on the beach and I think we may make that a new tradition. Although it’s tough to be away from family, we “gifted” each other our trip and it was more about experiences than it was material things. Living abroad is really teaching me how valuable experiences are versus what we have. #perspecitve.  We spent most of our days at the beach or in the infinity pool and stumbled across a monkey or two! These photos are making me wish winter was over and that I could go back tomorrow. Whose ready to ditch the coats and go?!

  • We stayed at the Railay Princess Resort and Spa and it was perfect! Our room came with complimentary breakfast and was great for the price!
  • Stay in Railay…We flew into Krabi, Thailand and then took a bus and boat to get to Railay.  You could stay in Krabi but you would need to take a boat out to the beaches daily and it costs each time.
  • I would recommend spending a whole week at the beach. There are so many gorgeous beaches in the area I would suggest beach hoping!
  • Spend a day kayaking! The rock formations and the turquoise water is not to be missed!

xoxo

signature

p.s. my dress is from Piper and Scoot!

 

Wat Rong Khun [The White Temple]

Posted on: January 18, 2017

chiangrai53

chiangrai55

chiangrai24

chiangrai40carson

chiangrai5

chiangraijessie

chiangrai29

chiangraiiphone

Taking you back to Asia today with another travel post! Are you sick of them yet? I hope not! We decided we wanted to take a day trip to see Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai but we didn’t want to sit on a crowded tour bus for an entire day to do it. So we decided to rent a car. In Thailand, they drive on the other side of the road so it was a little strange to say the least. Thankfully, Carson is a good driver and we didn’t run into any problems! It was a little too easy to rent the car and my heart jumped to my throat every time we passed a police checkpoint in fear they would arrest us as foreigners. I’m happy to report I was overreacting and all was well. I’m so happy we made the day trip because Wat Rong Khun is not to be missed!

xoxo

IMG_2007.JPG

All rights reserved © Jessie Ann James · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie