Shannon Did What / Travel + Lifestyle Blog

Weekend Guide to Sacramento

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

I’ll be the first to admit that a trip to Sacramento was never really on the top of my bucket list.  My main reason to go to Sacramento was to visit my best friend.  I went into my stay thinking there would be no way I’d write a blog post on Sacramento.  I sure was wrong.  

Hannah and Greg - this one’s for you.  You guys were absolutely right about Sacramento being completely blog post worthy.  

Here is a guide to all the things you should eat, see and do while in Sacramento or is just reasons why you should visit this lovely city.

EAT

SPINNERS CINNAMON ROLLS - Head to Spinners Cinnamon Rolls to grab yourself a sweet treat to start your morning.  Don’t be fooled by its location at the gas station, these cinnamon rolls are melt-in-your-mouth good.  You can grab an original or even one stuffed with apples.

I’m a sucker for a great story and this mom and pop place has a great one.  Watch the story behind this 30-year business, here.

TEMPLE COFFEE ROASTERS - Not only is this place super cute and well designed, their coffee is delicious. Temple Coffee is also specific to northern California so get it while you’re there!  The best thing about this shop?  The floor is made entirely made up of pennies.  Yes, pennies.  It's quite the sight to see.

FEDERALIST PUBLIC HOUSE - I love a place to eat with great ambience and Federalist has just that.  It’s got a really cool laid back vibe complete where you order at the counter, can play corn hole and they make their own housemade Sangria.  Their pizza is also hot and fresh out the oven.

ANDY'S CANDY APOTHECARY - I’m a sucker for a good old timey feeling candy store.  Well I'm just a sucker for candy.  Andy’s Apothecary is just that.  They’ve got all the gummies you could want and a cute little boutique in the back.

DELILAH'S MARKET CAFE - If you’re a fish lover, this place is for you.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to order poke from any place more than at Delilah's.  Their poke is already pre-mixed with killer flavors like furikake bomb ahi, sweet oyster ahi or sweet chili salmon.  Sample them, trust me.  They’ve also got multiple types of spam musubi - need I say more?

SELLAND'S MARKET CAFE - Selland’s is great for healthier tasting comfort food.  They’ve got a full case of salads and sides, soups and even a full service bakery.  Doesn’t hurt that the interior and decor is super ‘gram-worthy.

SEE

CAPITOL BUILDING - I think I’ve always kind of wanted to see the California State Capitol building.  It seemed as a native Californian like something I should eventually go to see, but I didn’t realize how beautiful this building and its grounds would be.  Let’s just say, I was pretty blown over by how grand and impressive it really is.  I only wish I could’ve seen the inside.  You can get a tour of the building every hour or just wander inside to check out the beautiful rotunda.

TOWER BRIDGE - The Tower Bridge was another landmark I was super impressed with.  The coolest part about this bridge is that it doesn’t lift like traditional bridges.  The center section of the bridge lifts vertically, like a elevator.  It’s also just a cool bright yellow color.

COLORFUL WALLS - Like most cities, this up-and-coming city has some cool colorful walls to 'gram.  Here are where these 2 are located - We're All in it Together + Wal Public Market.

VICTORIAN HOUSES - On a stroll through East Sacramento’s Fabulous Forties district, you’ll find all the pretty Victorian houses.  If you’ve seen the movie Ladybird, the actual blue house exists here near the corner of 44th and M street.

DO

WAL PUBLIC MARKET - Located on the ground floor of artist lofts in midtown, is the Wal Public Market.  Come here for boutique and vintage shopping, great food and an awesome outdoor seating area.

OLD TOWN SACRAMENTO - Go back in time and experience the quaint vibe of old town Sacramento.  This is the home of California’s first thriving business district.  Take a stroll along the river waterfront, stroll the shops and even learn a little more about California’s history.  Here’s your heads up for old Sacramento parking, make sure you pay the meter.  I might be speaking from experience...

COIN OP ARCADE - If you’re a fan drinks and games, this place is for you.  It’s like a cooler old-timey version of Dave and Buster’s.  All of the games are vintage and operated by coins thus the name Coin-Op.  There’s also a great outside patio area to enjoy drinks with friends.  If you’re like me you’ll be at the basketball game challenging all the bystanders.

 

I hope this guide inspires you take a trip to California's capital.  It's just a quick drive from San Francisco.  I know you'll enjoy your time as much as I did!

Yours Truly // Shannon

Staying at All Inclusive Overwater Bungalows

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments

Have you ever wanted to stay at an overwater bungalow? Ya me too. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, have you seen pictures or video of those beautiful villas on stilts over water in Tahiti or the Maldives or Jamaica? Well, these over water villas can run in the thousands per night. I know, you’re thinking there’s no way that’s ever going to be a possibility, right?

I found the perfect place and the most affordable way to experience sleeping in an over water villa. This particular place is called the Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort and it is by far the best option to stay in cheap overwater bungalows.

I first saw it when browsing through Facebook showing the most beautiful footage of the Avani Sepang as the largest over water resort in the world. Good thing I was in the midst of planning my Asia trip because I immediately sent it to my friend and, well, the rest is history.  It is truly one the most beautiful places I've ever stayed.

The Avani Sepang from an aerial perspective is shaped like a giant palm tree. The trunk being the long breezeway to the center of the branches where the infinity pool, spa and multiple restaurants are located. This infinity pool, by the way, is one of the most picturesque views you’ll see. Just imagine the water cascading into the blue water of the ocean just beneath the horizon.

This giant palm tree is actually so large that the most efficient way of getting around is by bike or golf cart.  They actually call golf carts buggies which just makes it sound even more fun.  We decided to take bikes around most of the time, but I'm not the best bike rider.  Word to the wise, don't bike down the path of an overwater bungalow because you could crash and your phone could also then go flying into the ocean 20 feet down.  True story.

I think I’d think of this resort as an all-inclusive resort.  You can definitely choose which level of inclusiveness you’d like when booking your stay though.  Ultimately, we chose to do breakfast only included. I’m glad we did since only one restaurant out of like 6 or 7 is the designated restaurant of choice.  Eating at one restaurant for an extended period without trying other options wouldn't be my first choice.  Thus, the breakfast only option.  I also say this is more or less all-inclusive because when you stay here, you don’t really need to leave the property nor is there much around outside of the grounds.

One of my favorite activities the resort provided was a fire show on the beach.  I don’t know if it’s because fire shows are incredibly mesmerizing or the fabulous guys dancing to all the pop queen songs, but it was wildly entertaining.  If you stay here, you most definitely will get wrangled into stopped by for the show.

Like I said the Avani Sepang is basically all-inclusive meaning there are lots of things to do and places to explore on the property.  Theres everything from beach activities, laying by the infinity pool, biking around and lots of eating options.  You can also book multiple activities and sightseeing adventures through the resort doing everything from venturing into Kuala Lumpur to a boat tour down the river.

If you didn't notice the theme to most of the pictures in this post is purple and pink.  This is undoubtably because the sunsets here are the most epic you will ever see in your life.  Hoping the Avani Sepang is now on your bucket list especially if you're interested in having the experience of staying at an all inclusive overwater bungalow.

Yours Truly // Shannon

6 Tips for Visiting Angkor Wat, Cambodia

TravelShannon Guerrero14 Comments

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Cambodia is one of my favorite countries I've ever visited.  As of now I've been fortunate to visit 30 countries, so I think that's saying a lot!  It's been a dream of mine to see Angkor Wat and experience the beautiful Cambodia culture.

I've compiled a list of tips to help make your Cambodian trip that much more memorable.  Nobody likes those little hassles that pop up during your trip.  Hopefully telling you about some of these tips will help alleviate any of the extra stresses that travel can cause.

Buy your visa ahead of time online.

When planning your trip to Cambodia, be sure to check what the Visa restrictions are for your country of origin.  If you’re an American, you definitely need to have a visa to enter the country.

Be sure to apply for this online before your trip.  It’s a super easy process.  You just have submit a passport photo (no smiling!) and $36.  My visa got approved same day.  Just have to print it out to have on hand when you land.

You can only buy your ticket from 5am to 5:30pm.

You’ll probably want to purchase your ticket at the Angkor Ticket Center which is only from 5am to 5:30pm - essentially only during day light hours.  There are 3 ticket options - 1 day, 3 days or 7 days.  These don’t need to be consecutive either! Just within a certain time frame.

If you’re looking to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat be sure to purchase you tickets the day before.  You don’t want to be stuck having to buy a ticket and then going to Angor Wat.  You won’t get a great view of the sunrise if you get there too late.  Read all my tips on how to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat

They take your picture that is printed directly onto your ticket.  Also, they recently changed the process so that they now accept credit cards in addition to cash.

Hire a car/guide, not a tuk tuk.

Your experience and visit will be that much better if you hire a car to take you to each temple.  I wouldn’t hire a tuk tuk for this because most days are extremely hot in Cambodia.  In a car, you’ll have access to air conditioning.  Second, a car will be much faster between temples especially if you’re intending on seeing the sunrise at Angkor Wat, trust me, take a car.  We bypassed so many tuk tuks on the way.

If you haven’t experienced a tuk tuk ride, definitely try one out in town! They are a fun way to get around in all other instances.  

I think it’s also worth hiring a guide along with your hired car.  They are extremely knowledgable and really help you get the most out of your visit.  Best part is they are super affordable!  I believe we had a private car and guide for 2 for just $30/each for the day.

Think your wardrobe through before your trip.

If you’re a woman, for basically every single temple you visit in Angkor Wat, you have to have both your knees and shoulders covered as a sign of respect.  It’s not the most pleasant experience if you don’t prepare ahead of time.  You could find yourself wrapped in multiple scarfs, struggling to keep them wrapped just right and struggling in the heat with multiple layers.  Pack for these restrictions! 

I made sure to bring skirts and dresses that covered my knees and tops that covered my shoulders.  Off the shoulder tops proved to be extremely helpful here.  You can just lift them up so they actually cover your shoulders while visiting temples.

Don’t exchange your money. 

Trust me, this is one country it is completely unnecessary to exchange your currency.  Cambodians accept USD everywhere and in a lot of cases, you may not be able to exchange back to USD after your trip. 

IT can get really hot - bring a fan, don’t forget water.

Make sure you adequately prepare when heading out to the temples.  The heat and humidity can get really intense in Siem Reap.  Be sure to stay hydrated and bring a fan to help stay cool.

 

TIP RECAP:
1. Buy your visa before visiting.
2. Buy your entrance ticket to Angkor Wat before a sunrise visit.
3. Hire a car, not a tuk, tuk.
4. Think about your wardrobe before.
5. Don't exchange your money.
6. Stay hydrated and cool.

Moral of the story: A visit to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia should take a bit of planning.  Not much, just a few things to think about before visiting that will make your experience that much better!

 

Yours Truly // Shannon