MariCAR (Mario Kart) in Tokyo, Japan

IMG_20180521_204736_693Our little family went on a holiday recently to Japan, so expect a series of posts here with stories from some of the highlights from our trip!

I will start this series with quite possibly the most exciting highlight… because… ONLY IN JAPAN. Lol.

Where else can you drive a custom built go-kart ON THE STREETS of a busy city?!

To those who haven’t had the opportunity to give this a go, I would really recommend you just do it! It is not as scary as it looks, and it is the best way to explore a city. Tokyo is so beautiful and I absolutely loved the experience of driving around the streets of Tokyo in these… go-karts lol. I felt a bit exposed and slightly unsafe at first, but we were going at such a slow and steady pace and the drivers around us were so aware and courteous of us the crazy tourists that it didn’t feel that dangerous at all! Plus you get to dress up in cute Mario costumes and be all touristy hehe.

Quite a few companies offer this experience in Tokyo, but we went with Samurai Kart Asakusa. We were travelling with the kids, so they offered the “coach service” where the kids could ride in a van that follows closely behind the go-kart drivers. So I rode in the bus with the kids for the first hour and a bit, and then swapped with my friend Cheryl whom we were travelling with at the pitstop/toilet break and got to drive for the last 20 minutes or so.

 

Price wise, naturally something like this would not be cheap but it is not a complete rip off either. It was worth every dollar, a truly unique experience and so much fun! Samurai Kart Asakusa have their pricelist on their Facebook page here
.IMG_20180521_152113_870

So if you are planning a trip to Japan, you simply MUST give street go-karting a good hot go. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. It is the most fun we have had in a while and I am completely in love with Japan and look forward to the day I get to go back!

Kimba’s Essential Guide to Overseas Travel with a Toddler (Bali)

I am so excited. We are off to Bali tomorrow! This trip has been planned months ago, and I have been counting down the many hundred days leading up to this. I am turning 30 in December, and instead of having a big party I opted for a lovely holiday. We will be staying in a 5-bedroom private villa. So blessed that we get to share this holiday with some of our closest friends and my parents will also be joining us from Malaysia! That would mean my parents are around to help babysit Micah while I relax and chill… very much needed especially before the arrival of our 2nd bub in March. Also looking forward to some adult only, child-free nights in Bali… I am so excited!!!
I have decided to write a blog post because leading up to this trip I also had a long list of things To Do and To Pack. There are a lot of things to consider before a trip like this, especially when you have toddler. So here’s a checklist of a few things to keep in mind… for my own personal future reference as well as yours if you are about to go on a similar trip with your family!
GENERAL CHECKLIST (3 Months Prior):
  • Accommodation booked and confirmed
  • Flights booked and confirmed
  • Passports are up to date with at least 6 months validity from when you arrive at destination
THINGS TO PACK (Check In):
  • Portable cot
  • Bedding for cot
  • Items for bedtime routine (in Micah’s case sippy cup for his milk, his childrens’ Bible for bedtime story, his favorite blanket)
  • Baby monitor
  • Travel stroller
  • Nappies
  • Nappy Bags
  • Large plastic bags e.g. Kitchen Tidy bags for disposal of bulk nappies as well as to pack anything wet / could leak on the way home.
  • Swimmer nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Swimwear
  • Sufficient clothing
  • Underwear
  • Footwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Snacks
  • Outdoor toys – beach ball, frisbee, etc.
  • Hats
  • Basic toiletries eg toothbrush, toothpaste, shaver, deodorant & facewash (others are provided by hotel)
  • Meds – Panadol, Baby Panadol, Gastro meds, Travel sickness meds, Painkillers, Antihistamines, Insect bite meds, Nappy Rash Cream, etc.
  • Phone & tablet chargers
  • Power adaptors to suit power plugs at destination country
  • Luggage locks to lock your suitcases
  • An extra bag that folds flat for extra stuff if planning to shop
THINGS TO PACK (Carry On – Small Bag)
  • Passports
  • Itineraries
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Wallet / Purse
  • Your Keys + Keys to Luggage Locks
  • Money
  • Basic makeup for freshening up
  • Panadol and Travel Sickness Meds
THINGS TO PACK (Carry On – Kids Bag)
  • A few nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Nappy bags
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Tablet with movies to keep little one occupied
  • Headphones
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks – biscuits, lollipops, etc.
  • Change of clothes 
LAST MINUTE CHECKLIST
  • If planning to use your credit card, please inform your bank that you will be overseas so your card doesn’t get blocked!
  • Do not use roaming – it is too expensive. Do research on local phone carriers with prepaid options with data if you need to stay connected, if not, switch off your phone and relax!
  • Make sure some of your activities which needs to be pre-booked are booked.
  • Depending on where you’re going, find out if it’s best to exchange your money in Australia or when you get there. In Bali’s case we get better rates in Indonesia so we are exchanging our currencies only when we get there.
  • Make sure all is in place with your accommodation and transport, in our case, we have communicated all special requests to our villa and pre-booked our arrival meals and let them know our flight details and contact names for pick up at the airport.
  • You can also choose to hire baby cot, stroller, high chairs etc so you don’t have to worry about bringing those items. 
  • Car rental arrangements if applicable.
  • Airport parking arrangements if applicable.
  • Duty free shopping list :p
  • Spend some time making sure your house is clean and tidy. You don’t want to come home to a messy house!
Note that some things not on my list MAY be on your list e.g. baby carrier (we don’t carry Micah, he is much too heavy!), bottles, formula, etc… depending on how old your baby / toddler is.
My list may seem pretty lengthy… okay maybe it is… but really we are travelling quite light! 1 x large luggage bag fits both hubby and mine’s clothing (mostly because we are travelling to a tropical country so clothes are thin and light) and 1 x small luggage bag to fit all of Micah’s stuff. 1 carry on, and 1 camera bag which serves as my handbag. Portacot and stroller will be checked in and those baby items are NOT included in the total luggage allocation, they are like bonus freebie weight so we don’t have to worry about exceeding our weight limit.
I hope I haven’t forgotten anything…..

SBS Cooking Titles – Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong 2 + Giveaway

In the second installment of this SBS TV series acclaimed chef, Luke Nguyen, ventures deeper into the Greater Mekong region to discover the food cultures of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
Luke Nguyen is a chef and owner of Sydney’s award-winning Vietnamese restaurants, Red Lantern and Red Lantern on Riley. He is also a bestselling author.
Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam Series 1, Series 2 and Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong are also available on DVD.
This series not only has mouthwatering recipes, but also offers a great travel experience for the viewer. I personally enjoyed how I was taken on a journey across these South Asian countries just in the comforts of my living room! I also enjoyed how Luke chose some odd locations to demonstrate his cooking in the series, it was very entertaining to watch him try and cook and defy Mother Nature. In one of the episodes, Luke sets up his cooking station (portable gas stove) right at the beach when the tide was actually coming in, so Luke frantically tries to finish cooking his dish before the tide got too high! It was very funny, he got soaked and water was splashing onto his ingredients!

Luke overall is a very entertaining presenter and I really enjoyed watching every episode of the series. I loved how he made his dishes seem so easy to cook (and yes they were pretty easy!) but with a great range of amazing ingredients which makes those amazing  flavoursome dishes Luke is famous for.


Luke begins his culinary journey in Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, with its bounty of hidden foodie gems. He then journeys north to Laos’ ‘food capital’, Luang Prabang, before travelling south to the fishing mecca, the 4000 Islands. Luke crosses the Mekong River into Cambodia, beginning in the ancient city of Siem Reap, where locals teach him how to cook traditional Khmer dishes. He then travels south to the bustling capital, Phnom Penh, where he gets a new take on street food. Heading further south, Luke explores the seaside towns of Kep and Kampot, famous for their crab and pepper. Finally, Luke returns to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. He seeks out the foodie wonders of border town, Chau Doc. He cooks with his parents on a houseboat in Cai Be, and explores the coconut islands of Ben Tre.
Presenting the best in local and international cuisines, SBS is home to a who’s who of the food scene – along with Peter Kuruvita, Maeve O’Meara, Tetsuya, Matthew Evans, Adriano Zumbo and many more, Luke Nguyen is just one of the SBS chefs and personalities whose great shows are available on DVD.
Visit www.madman.com.au/sbsfood to see the entire SBS Food DVD range and enter the competition to win the entire collection of 34 DVDs!!
DVDs are available at Dymocks and Sanity stores nationwide (RRP $29.95).
Giveaway: I have 15 x DVD packs consisting of Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong Series 1 & Series 2 to giveaway to 15 lucky readers! All you have to do is tell me:
“Why would you like to have Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong 1 & 2?”
So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment and don’t forget to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win! Please submit all entries for this giveaway before the 31st of March 2013.

This blog post was sponsored by Nuffnang. Terms & Conditions apply.