Travel

Traveling has always been a passion of mine. I always dream of traveling around the world, experience different cultures, meeting new people, and trying different food that the world has to offer. So far, most of my destinations have been around Asia, but I am planning to explore Europe in May 2012. My goal is to travel at least once a year, so please keep checking back!

North America (U.S. & Canada)

  • New York12/30/2009 – 01/01/2010
  • Montreal/Quebec – 08/05/2011 – 08/7/2011

Europe (Planning to visit in May 2012)

  • London
  • Paris
  • Italy, Florence, Venice
  • Rome

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

  • Hong Kong10/13/2010 – 11/03/2010 (Trip details below)
  • Beijing 10/20/2010 –10/27/2010 (Trip details below)

South America

More links will be added!

New York City 12/30/2009 –01/01/2010

I  went to New York City for the first time with a few of my friends. We decided to spend New Year’s Eve at Time Square in New York City. We knew it was going to be crazy for the countdown in Time Square, but we still excited to go because we want to experience what its like to count down at Time Square.

We book our trip with a Chinese Tour called Tai Pan Tour. We selected the 3 days New York Shopping Tour cause the girls want to do some shopping. The tour included two nights at a three star Sheraton Hotels. Day one will consist of mainly shopping at outlet mall at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet and Waterloo Premium Outlet. Day 2 will consist of a touring the main sites of New York such as Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Time Square, and Rockefeller Centre.  Day 3 will consist of more shopping back at the outlet mall and duty free shop and back to Toronto.

For this tour we spend approximately $135 each and this does not include food, driver and tour guide fees, and some optional attractions. I say the whole trip cost approximately $200 for each of us.

Here are a few highlights of our trip.

Time Square

Time Square is one of my favorite highlights in New York City. I have heard many good things about Time Square through friends and family. It was a great experience seeing it with my own eyes instead of watching it on TV on news year’s eve every year. It such a different feeling when you are actually there, the vibe is completely different. Exploring the shopping, the crowds, the large billboards and neon signs, and watching reporter’s reports live around Time Square made me realize why Time Square is nicknamed “The Crossroad of the world” where Crossroad = an important or central place and Time Square certainly fit that description.

Rockefeller Centre

The Rockefeller centre is one of the tallest buildings in New York City. I couldn’t see how tall the building was since the weather was quite foggy that day. We went up to the roof of the Rockefeller centre and were expecting a good view of the city. However, it was snowing that day, so we couldn’t get a clear view of the city. Being on top of Rockefeller Centre was a great experience, I sure feel like I am on top of the world!

Statue of Liberty

We took a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and I was so looking forward to see it, but I was in the ferry the whole ride, let just say I had a little too much to drink the night before. My friends who actually witness the statue of liberty took this picture and thanks guys for checking if I am still alive.

Madison Square Garden

If you know me well, I love playing basketball. I am a huge NBA fans and I always hear NBA superstar dream of playing at the Madison Square Garden arena because it the center stage where legends are made. I didn’t get the chance to actually enter Madison Square Garden, but I did take a picture outside Madison Square Garden, it better then nothing. Maybe next time I will actually go see the New York Knick play since they finally have a pretty decent team in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudmaire.

Time Square Countdown

Time Square is truly one of the most popular destinations for New Years Eve countdown. The crowd was crazy, the atmosphere was electrifying, and the neon lights are super bright. There were so many people at Time Square, it impossible to even get near the central spot where they drop the ball. We were nearly crushed by the crowd when we went for countdown; there were literally no space to walk. We can hear enough drunkies screaming and swearing. It was quite funny. Here a picture we took during the count town and if you look closely, we can barley move because we were surrounded by so many people. Would I go to Time Square for countdown again? Probably not just because it too crazy, too crowded, but it was a great experience and I am glad I did it. It was an awesome trip guys!

Click here for more pictures from my trips

Beijing

We went on a 7 days tour to Beijing. It been a while since we travel as a family, so it was a lot of fun and I hope we can do it again very soon. My experience in Beijing was amazing. It will take me forever to explain what it like in Beijing, all I can tell you is it a big place with a lot of people and be very careful of pickpocketer and always bring tissue, it a life saver! We went to all the main attractions such as The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and Capital Museum.

Here are my two favorite sights in Beijing

The Forbidden City

We arrive at the Forbidden city around 7:00 am in the morning. I was pretty much half awake and was sleeping the whole ride to the Forbidden City. On the way to the entrance I was shock by the line up, there were literally hundreds of tour groups waiting in line to get in. I am glad we didn’t have to wait in line.

The architecture of the Forbidden City is truly amazing. Just being there and able to see it with my  own eyes is just incredible. I have never seen anything so beautiful and the palace is huge!  It will take at least the whole day to cover the entire palace and I highly recommended you go with a tour cause I can see people getting lost in this place.

The Great Wall

The Great Wall was one of my favorite sight in Beijing. I didn’t actually walk the entire Great Wall, but I did reach the top.  I tell you, it not easy getting to the top. The steps are so steep that I have to literally climb steps by step in order to reach the top.  When I actually reach the top, it was all worth it, the view was just amazing, I literally stay up there for like half  an hour enjoying the view and the breezes of winds blowing at my face was great.

I thought getting to the top was the hard part, but getting down was actually more scarier then I thought. I literally have to hold the handle, so I don’t trip and kill myself. My sister was yelling at me complaining that she too young to died, someone help me, it was pretty funny. At the end of the day, it was a incredible experience and I am glad I get the opportunity to experience it for myself.

Click here for more pictures from my trips

Hong Kong

Hong Kong will always be one of my favorite destinations because it where I was born. I always love going back because I get to see my Hong Kong relative and they always treat us to good food. Man, how I miss the food in Hong Kong!

What I like most about Hong Kong is it so so convenient. You literally don’t need to drive their, you can explore the entire city with the MTR subway. Their subway system is one of the best in the world. Their subway is accessible pretty much everywhere, it clean, and there’s wifi and phone reception.  There pretty much no comparison when you compare the Canadian subway system to Hong Kong.

One thing you should know if you visiting Hong Kong for the first time is that wherever you go, expect a lot of people. Don’t be surprise if you get bump by random strangers, it happen to me all the time.

Always watch out for pocket pickers, a lot of people usually get their wallet stolen while walking in a crowd, so get a wallet that can attach to your belt or get a men purse.

The food is so good in Hong Kong, especially seafood. My uncle is a fisherman in Sai Kung and he always catch fresh fish, crab, oysters, and lobster whenever we visit and let me tell you it so delicious. I can’t see people starving in Hong Kong, pretty much everywhere you look, there restaurants near by and the food prices are so cheap and the portion are so big.  There are so many choices of food to choose from in Hong Kong that you will never run out of options. I can’t wait to go back and go food venturing.

Stanley Market

There are so many at attractions in Hong Kong, but I have pretty much see everything. The Avenue of Stars, The Big Buddha, Disney Land, Stanley Market, The Peak, The Great Bauhinia and etc. I have seen it all and for people traveling to Hong Kong for the first time, you will be amaze of what Hong Kong has to offer.

Montreal  08/05/2011 – 08/07-2011

My first time to Montreal was awesome, I had a really good time. It’s everything that I expected. The city was beautiful and looking down  on top of Mont Royal was even better. The locals are very nice and passionate about their city. We didn’t have any trouble with language barrier because a lot of people is bilingual that speak both French and English. Their subway system is so much better than Toronto, it a lot more convenient and a lot cleaner, but one thing I don’t like is it can get humid in some subway station, I literally sweat like a pig waiting for 10 minute. In terms of food there were a lot of options especially in the Old Montreal area where I saw many restaurants I never heard of in Toronto, maybe because they are all French.

On Friday we arrive at Montreal around 8:30 a.m. We were carrying our backpacks while exploring the city because we couldn’t check in until noon. We decide to get some breakfast at Cora’s because we were starving from a 7 hour bus ride. After we feed ourselves, we decide to check the Montreal Eaton Center since it close to our hotel. There’s not much difference compare to the Toronto Eaton Center in terms of the layout and store’s, except it’s a lot cleaner.

After the girls did some window shopping, we decide to check into our hotel. We took the subway to Place-Des-Arts station, it’s like 5 min walk from our hotel. Our hotel is really good, it’s in the heart of downtown. It’s close to subway station with lots of restaurants, bars, and convenience’s store nearby. Our room has two queen’s size bed’s with a sink in the middle and a air conditioner that turn on 24/7. Thank God for the air conditioner that turns on 24/7 cause the weekend was pretty hot. The washroom are located outside our room which is share and there’s a total of three washroom. At first I didn’t like the idea of share washroom, but the washroom was very clean with a nice stand up shower. We never have to wait for the washroom, whenever we need to shower, it’s always available.

After we unpack and shower, we heck out to start exploring Montreal. The first place we decide to go is the Marie-Reine-Du-Monde Cathedrale. The church was breath taking, it was simply beautiful. I never seen anything like it, the more I explore the church, the more I get amaze just how beautiful it is. We spend almost an hour in the church just taking pictures and the best part of the church that I like the most is the roof design, it just awesome. If you like to see more pictures of the church click here.

After we decide to to go to Mont Royal, I heard it a mountain where you can view the entire city. We hike up to Mont Royal not knowing there was a bus to get to the top. It took us approximately 40 minute and it was a pretty hot day. By the time we reach to the top, my shirt was all soak, but it was all worth it, the view was simply awesome :). At Mont Royal, we saw a guy selling beverages for like $4 for a bottle of water and I was like that’s a total rip off, but I see people buying it. Luckily, I brought a bottle of water with me before we came up, but that guy must be making a fortune. We stay at Mont Royal for about an hour taking pictures and enjoying the view, then we took the bus back home which was around 9:00 pm. We took our shower and fresh up to get ready to go out for dinner. We pick the restaurant “La Banquise”, I heard they have the best poutine in town and people who know me knows I love eating poutine. When we got there, the line up for take out was long, it was all the way outside of the restaurant entrance, but luckily we got a table at the patio. There were so many types of poutine’s to choose from, I just don’t know which one to pick, so I randomly pick one and ends up getting the Poutine Elvis with ground beef, green pepper, and mushrooms and it was so good. I couldn’t believe I actually it and my poutine was only a regular size, imagine the portion of a large size poutine!

On Saturday we went to the Biodome where we going to learn more about our ecosystems and see birds, penguins, insects, and also the Biotanca Garden. The admission fee was $28 which I think was pretty expensive. There wasn’t much in the Biodome, I think it’s more for kids education. We saw some birds, fish, penguins, insects, and took some really nice flower pictures at the Biotanca Garden, that pretty much it. My friends wanted to go, so I just tag along.

After the Biodome, we decide to bike to Habita 67 and the Biosphere. Just like Toronto, Montreal have bike station around the city for public use, the only difference is Montreal have bike trails on the street so we can ride our bike on the street with the cars. We choose the $5 for 24 hours for the bike rental, but what we didn’t know is that we need to park our bike to a bike station every 30 minute. We certainly didn’t do that and pass over the 30 minute limit which I pay $15 extra in penalty fee. I was alright with it because it was our first time using the bike and it was a lot of fun. Habitat 67 was pretty cool, you can see rooms from different angles which had me curious how big is each apartment is. The Biosphere was pretty cool, it was hugh that pretty much it.

After, we took the subway back home to fresh up and get ready for our next destination which is to attend the light show at the famous Notre Dame Basilica church. We arrive at Notre Dame and saw there was a line up in front of the church. We saw people holding tickets and didn’t know we have to purchase tickets in advance to admit into the church. We were too late for the 7:00 pm show so we decide to catch the 8:30 show instead. Since we have time to kill we decided to walk to Old Montreal and have dinner at Jardin Nelson, a restaurant my friend pick. Old Montreal was awesome, the old buildings, the narrow cobblestones street gives you that very quaint feel of walking through an old European city. The streets was very lively, people dining with conversations and laughter and performances on the streets, it was just awesome walking through Old Montreal.

We arrive at Jardin Nelson and we saw people lining up. At first we thought it going to be a long wait, but the waiter told us that there’s a table at the front of the restaurants. We decide to seat at the front of the restaurants since we have to catch the Notre Dame light show at 8:30. I was curious what it’s like at the back of the restaurant since so many people are waiting for a table at the back of the restaurant. I sneak to the back to take picture of it and I didn’t see anything spectacular about the back of the restaurant, but it doesn’t it all about the food.

There were so many options to choose from on the menu and I want to try everything. At the end I pick soup of the day “Potage Du Jour” and the main course I got “Newburg” with sweet batter, newbug sauce, lobster, scampies, shrimp, scallops, mozzarella, and chaddar cheese. Our food arrives and we dig in and to be honest the food was good but not amazing that it wow me, it just good.

After dinner we head back to the Notre Dame Basilica church for the light show. We saw people lining up already, so we got in line. We were giving a head phone and was seated in the middle section of the church. The church was pretty dark, we couldn’t see much. The show begins with a history of how the church came to be on a projector with the audio broadcast through our headphone. It was pretty cool and at the end they open the curtain where they show us the Notre Dame Basilica. It was magnificent, truly amazing. I always see customers bring their pictures of Notre Dame Basilica to the photo lab, but I never get to see it myself and now I see it with my own eyes, it truly amazing.

On Sunday it’s our last day at Montreal. Our bus depart at 1pm for Toronto and I was so not looking forward to the 7 hour bus ride. We woke up around 10 am and got breakfast at Eggspecetation. After breakfast we bike to a store called Macaroon that sell these really good cookies with different flavors.  I have heard from friends that they are really good so I brought  two packs of six macaroon and some for my co workers. So I try a few different flavors of macaroons and they are really good and my co-workers love it, next time I come back to Montreal, I will differently buy more 🙂.

Overall, I think the Montreal trip was a lot of fun. Montreal has a lot to offer in terms of food, history, and attractions. There’s a lot to do in Montreal and I would definitely come back again.

Check out some of the pictures I took from the trip Here

Click here for more pictures from my trips




 

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