January 2018: Adventures & Updates

January:  What I Got Up To


I’m finally not the only travel blogger in the world who hasn’t been to Southeast Asia! I spent January tooling around the region at a break-neck pace, exploring six of the eleven Southeast Asian countries. Who knew this part of the world was so magical? Oh yeah, everyone but me.



Pic of the Month


I was a real slackbot on Instagram this month, but I did post some beautiful shots if I do say so myself. My most popular picture in IG was this sunset from Mount Phousi in Luang Prabang, Laos:



On Facebook, I posted a lot of albums instead of individual pictures. However, the album that included this pic of Angkor Wat at sunrise definitely got a lot of attention:



Places Visited


  • Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Phnom Penh & Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Malacca & Sepang, Malaysia






  • Seeing Angkor Wat at sunrise. Despite all the tourists and people everywhere, despite the stress of waking up late, and despite my bank giving me foreign transaction problems at the worst possible time, I am still thrilled to think back on that morning.


  • Visiting the ancient Siamese capital of Sukhotai.



  • Having an emotional day learning about the Khmer Rouge at Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh.


  • Getting up before dawn to watch the Almsgiving ceremony in Luang Prabang. I’ve never gotten up before sunrise so many days on the road as in Southeast Asia, but so much of the cool stuff that happens there is for early birds.


  • Seeing Halong Bay and Trang An back to back. They’re both amazing natural wonders, and I appreciated seeing both in their own unique ways.


  • Rewarding a long personal story (that I may tell one day) by staying in my first overwater bungalow in Sepang, Malaysia



  • Watching the city of Hanoi come alive to celebrate their national U23 football team.





  • Getting scammed by a taxi driver coming back from the Hanoi airport. He put my safety at risk over $17.


  • Being overly cautious and uncomfortable in Phnom Pehn. I let the city’s safety warnings get the better of me, and I didn’t get out enough and explore because of fear. I hope to get back eventually and rectify this situation.



  • Having to choose between looking rude and avoiding being scammed by a Dutch guy in Malacca who was either a very nice guest at my same hostel or a total effing creep. No way to know, and I hate that I sometimes carry the emotional burden of that kind of stuff with me.


  • Getting called fat by my waiter in Laos, possibly because I wasn’t interested in him.


  • Sweating my face off all over Thailand in 90+ degree weather.



Podcast Episodes








Travels with Lucy


Lucy is safe and sound in Sofia, and, while I didn’t get to hang out with her except for the first two days of the month, we’ve been facetiming a good bit. She is badly in need of a haircut, something I will rectify in February.


January by the Numbers


  • Houses of Worship Visited:  29
  • Episodes of The Royals binged: 20
  • Tuk Tuk Rides:  13
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited: 12
  • Beds: 9
  • Airports:  9
  • Flights: 8
  • Countries: 7
  • Mexican Restaurants: 7
  • Episodes of Law & Order SVU binged: 7
  • Continents:  2
  • Spa Days:  2



In the gardens of Bangkok's City Pillar Shrine.

A post shared by Stephanie🏺History Fangirl (@historyfangirl) on

Current Obsessions


  • Tove Lo (again)
  • My Overwater Bungalow (two more nights!)
  • The History of Southeast Asia podcast
  • Thai Buddhist Guardian Demons
  • Thai and Vietnamese Food
  • Figuring out exactly how long I can go before my un-laundered clothes become a public health concern
  • Finding a way to do a technology detox before I lose my effing mind




My Favorite Pic


As much as monkeys are jerks (stay tuned for that one!), this snap of a mama and baby monkey in Angkor felt like the perfect moment captured:




What’s Next?


I have two more (bliss-filled) days in Malaysia, before heading back to Sofia for some serious work time. Then at the end of the month, I’ll catch up with my friend Allison to see two new countries – Spain and Andorra!



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January 2018: Adventures & Review
January 2018: Adventures & Review



One Comment

  1. Looks amazing. I’m looking forward to the end of May already so I can do some summer travel. Not sure where I want to go yet, but I want to avoid crowds. I found out in 2016 that Tulum is a great summer “off” season destination. Do you know of any others? ~Jen

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