australia and new zealand

After a somewhat long absence on this blog, I return with my recap of Australia and New Zealand! I was there for 21 days on vacation. In short, I had a phenomenal time and I would recommend both countries to anyone even remotely interested in visiting. Check out my itinerary below for ideas and recommendations. If you have other suggestions in the two countries, please comment below.

I’m also compiling a series of videos I took on our trip into a travel diary of the places I visited. The first one is of Sydney. You can see them all on my YouTube channel.

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keeping it neutral in switzerland

During the first week in October, I embarked on an unforgettable 9-day (including travel) trip to Switzerland with a good friend of mine from college. We bought tickets months in advance through Icelandair. The airfare cost around $405/person while our Airbnb stays were $410/person. We each got our own 8-day Swiss travel pass that was CHF 398 ($399.60). This totaled $1214.60 before even stepping foot on Swiss soil.

It is pretty expensive to travel to Switzerland, but the scenic views are so worth it. Switzerland is a gorgeous country and if you are a person who enjoys the outdoors and picturesque mountain scenery, Switzerland is a must. 

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a city so nice they named it twice

“Manhattan is the other name.”

New York City is never boring. The city is always changing, so fluid and dynamic. I’ve been to NYC over 20 times, and I have yet to explore everything. I doubt you can even explore the same street year after year without some alteration here and there.

I’m planning another trip to the Big Apple next month, but I wanted to share some of my favorite experiences and places from my last visit in March. I try to visit a new restaurant, cafe, or museum every time, so my list has been building over the years. Yelp is usually my go to for finding new and hip places to check out, as well as Eater NY, the Infatuation New York, Edible New York, and Thrillist. I also like to utilize some Instagram food accounts/guides, such as @bestfoodny, @new_fork_city, @nytfood, @eatingnyc, @nybucketlist, @nyceeeeeats, and @nycfoodgals. Do you follow any New York food Instagram accounts and have other recommendations?

Coffee Project
Coffee Project New York

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london, baby!

Just touched down in London town.

After a few days in Paris, I took the Chunnel to London. The Chunnel (Channel Tunnel) is a rail that connects northern France to southeast England. There are over 23 miles/37 km of the tunnel that is underwater. It’s a very popular way to get from Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, and Lille in France to London. The trip took about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

London was loads of fun as well. I stayed by Hyde Park, a very convenient location to many of the attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, and Kensington Palace. The London Tube was easy to use and traversed all across the city, which made getting to and from the British Museum, British Library, and Wembley Stadium effortless.

When I came back from vacation, most of my friends and colleagues would ask, “Which one do you better?” London or Paris? Honestly, the two cities are very similar in a lot of ways. An epicure’s dream, culturally enriching with museums that house impressive works of art or sculptures, beautiful urban green spaces and parks, and landmarks that are historically significant.

To me, Paris is a breathtakingly gorgeous city that is well designed, compact, architecturally impressive, and more walkable. Meanwhile, London is more ethnically diverse, and its world-class museums are free. At the end of the day, it comes down to one’s preference. Scones or croissants? Louvre or the British Museum? Versailles or Buckingham Palace? Harrods or Champs-Élysées? Quite frankly, there’s no need to choose. I would love to go back to both.

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Buckingham Palace
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paris, je t’aime

As the iconic Audrey Hepburn said in Sabrina,

Paris is always a good idea.

For myself, a person who studied French since 7th grade (and even minored in the language in college), it has been a dream of mine to visit the City of Lights. Well, just last week I made that dream into a reality.

I planned a 10-day vacation (including travel days) to Paris and London, with Paris being the first leg. My flight flew into Charles de Gaulle Airport and after a lengthy Uber ride, I left my luggage with the hotel and walked two blocks down to the Louvre. From there, the next few days were packed with long walks along the Seine, visits to some of the best museums in the world, and nonstop bites of croissants, crêpes, soufflés, baguettes, cheese, macarons, and wine.

Everyone says Paris is beautiful. This is not an exaggeration by any means. Everywhere I walked was like being transported into a postcard. Even in the 6-9°C weather, the views were spectacular. I was seeing with my own eyes culturally and historically significant buildings, artwork and sculptures throughout the centuries, winding streets upon where great men and women have walked, and oases of greenery amidst one of the most populous cities in the world. Paris is beautiful by day or night – it’s no wonder people have love affairs with the city.

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Louvre

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windy times

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“Chicago’s one of the rare places where architecture is more visible.”

There’s a reason why John Hughes shot so many films in Chicago. This metropolitan city is as cosmopolitan and internationally cultured as New York but comparatively underrated. It’s a city that has inspired more writers, innovators, and creators than anywhere else in the world, but it is often forgotten the impact Chicago has on some of the most renowned and famous people – people such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mark Twain, and Orson Welles.

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concrete jungle where dreams are made

New York, New York. The city so nice they named it twice.

I frequent NYC at least two to three times in a year. It’s a place that you can go time and time again, and it’s different each time. The city changes daily, and I don’t think anyone can really keep up.

The real reason why I was in the city this time was for the 2016 U.S. Open Tennis Championships. I’d never been but always longed to, so I was happy to make this dream a reality. I was able to catch some of the men’s and women’s round 3 matches, particularly Pliskova vs. Pavlyuchenkova, Nishikori vs. Mahut, and Thiem vs. Carreno Busta. The weather was perfect, and it was thrilling to be apart of such a big tennis major.

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beantown magic

For a late birthday adventure, I found myself in Boston for a few days of R&R. Boston is a city steeped in history and culture, and it ranks fairly high on the world’s most livable cities. I only spent about two days in Boston, but I was able to squeeze in a bunch of activities despite having less than 48 hours in the city.

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colorful colorado

For the 4th of July weekend, I was able to take a 5-day trip to the Centennial State. The plan was to visit Rocky Mountain National Park (hereto abbreviated as RMNP) and Aspen. Get in touch with Nature, hike, and decompress. Mission accomplished.

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the red dragon

Last November, I made a trip to mainland China and traveled to a couple of really amazing places. Beautiful destinations, must-eat food, and memorable experiences. I’ve always liked this one popular travel quote, which I find to be true.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

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