S E A T T L E

We took a short 2-3 day trip to Seattle and it was all the time we needed! Seattle is a short drive into Vancouver so that was one of the reasons why we visited but the other was to enjoy Starbucks and the seafood! July and August is the best time to visit but we got delayed for a month due to Hurricane Harvey. So my advice is to bring an umbrella or rain coat if you go any other month!

Where to stay:

We stayed as close as we could to the Pike Place Market! It was one of the places we wanted to revisit each day. Hotels are pretty small here and parking is around 20-30. You don’t necessarily need a car unless you’re planning to do day trips around Seattle.

What to do:

  • Visit the first Starbucks (near Pike Place Market)
  • Visit Starbucks Reserve
  • Visit the Gum Wall
  • Pike Place Market
  • Chihuly Garden – looks so pretty! Wish we had time to visit
  • Space Needle
  • Olympic Sculpture Park
  • Fremont Troll- go take that photo!
  • The Seattle Great Wheel
  • The Pier

Where to eat:

  • Pike Place Chowder – take my advice and get everything! LOL well I just love me some chowder.

V A N C O U V E R

If you were to ask me where I would visit again- I would have to say Vancouver/B.C as one of my choices. British Colombia is insanely beautiful and full of nature. When we started driving north of Vancouver- I felt as if the world stopped and took my breathe away. The fog laying on top of these beautiful tall standing trees and the winding roads along the waters- can you picture what I’m describing here? I seriously would take this view with the blue lakes over a beach in the south any day! So that leads me to how many days do I suggest? A MINIMUM of 3 days!!! There’s so much to do and see with a short drive outside of Vancouver. Go explore, ski, swim, hiking, and eat!

Where to stay:

I would suggest staying by Harbourfront or by BC Stadium. There’s some really nice hotels and you could find great deals sometimes. The only downside to Vancouver is if you have a car. Parking is over $40 at some hotels! They do have a great public transportation system but, we unfortunately did not experience it since we rented a car to drive out to explore Joffre Lakes and the Richmond area.

What to do:

  • Granville Island Public Market
  • Take a 2.5 hour trip to hike to Joffre Lakes. The hike is steep here and there but the view is totally worth it. I would do this again in a heartbeat. There’s a lower, middle, and upper lake- make sure you make it to the top!
  • Also on the way to Joffre Lakes is Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
  • And whistler- go skiing here in the winter!
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Stanley Park
  • Canada Place
  • Whytecliff Park
  • Point Atkinson/ Lighthouse Park
  • Sea to Sky Gondola – temp. closed
  • Hell’s Gate Airtram
  • Visit Chinatown
  • Visit Gastown- check out the clock!
  • Richmond Night Market: definitely save your stomach when this night market is around. Food is great but parking is not. I suggest ubering!

Where to eat:

  • OEB (Breakfast)
  • Jam Cafe (breakfast)
  • Medina Cafe (Breakfast/Brunch)
  • Catch 122 (Breakfast/Brunch)
  • Fanny Bay Oyster House
Geoduck- wow it was AMAZING and super fresh
Perfectly cooked mussels
  • Olive and Anchor
  • Shanghai River – get the dumplings!
  • Dinesty Dumpling House- more dumplings!
  • Rodney’s Oyster House
  • Phnom Penh (Vietnamese and Cambodian Fusion)
  • Steveston Pizza Company- if you want to be adventurous- get the $75 seafood pizza
  • Lido- MUST GET PINEAPPLE BUN
  • Japadog
  • Fable (Canadian)
  • Robba da Matti (Italian)
  • Kissa Tanto (Japanese)
  • Landmark Hotpot House
  • The Dolar Shop (Hotpot)
  • Saku- Japanese Chicken
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory
  • Trafiq Cafe and Bakery (Dessert)
  • Nero Belgian Waffle Bar (Dessert)
  • Bake 49 (Dessert)
  • 3 Quarters Full Cake
  • Beaucoup Bakery and Cafe

B A N G K O K

When in Bangkok- EAT, SHOP, and PRAY! The food is amazing, the temples are beautiful, and the shopping really never ends. We loved our trip here and would definitely go back.

Must know:

– do not listen to the locals when they say a certain attraction/location is closed. For example: the palace is closed for a prayer. They tell you these things to sell you on a tuk tuk tour/ride. Then they will take u to these places that pressures you to buy things

– download the grab app. This is identical to Uber/Lyft. Cheap and easy way around town if you want to opt out of public transportation.

– when shopping- MBK is the biggest counterfeit mall in Southeast Asia. Bargain back when you get want a product- I suggest going in at 1/3 of the price asked.

– when visiting temples- make sure you have a wrap to cover your legs or shoulders( if you have a tank top) if you don’t have one- you can rent one.

– be careful in the red light district (pat pong) in Bangkok. They have lots of sex shows and will try to sell you on watching them. Then, we were told that they try to charge you more once you sit down.

– the air pollution can be pretty bad here! I suggest getting a mouth mask/ cover. Trust me- I was blowing dust on my tissue from my nose.

Where to stay:

I recommend the Siam Area or the bang Rak area. It’s by all of the touristy areas/shopping centers so it’s more convenient and safer than some areas.

Highly rated hotels in Siam area:

  • Lit Bangkok hotel
  • Hua Chang Heritage hotel
  • Amari watergate Bangkok
  • Novotel Bangkok
  • Glow pratunam
  • Akara hotel

Things to do:

  • Wat arun- beautiful temple! Take the ferry over to visit this temple!
  • The grand palace- get there super early- line gets long!
  • Sanam Luang
  • Mua Thai fights
  • PatPong- if you want to check out their red light district.
  • Wat Phra Chetuphon(wat pho)
  • Pak Khlong flower market
  • Visit some night markets
  • Wat samphran dragon temple
  • Amphawa floating market- busiest market- I think you have to book a tour. We didn’t have time for this but it is on the highly recommended list from others.

Shopping:

  • Chatuchak weekend market- biggest market for shopping and food
  • Central world- I loved this mall!!! Great place to eat in AC and shop. I think I went back 2-3 times.
  • MBK- largest counterfeit mall
  • Amulet market- coins, amulets, good luck charms

Where to eat:

To be honest- you can’t go wrong with food here. Plan a few places you really want to eat and then wing it! Start trying everything at the nigh markets and around town. Everything is super flavorful.

  • Ratchada Rot fai- loved this night market. MUST TRY The pork spine rib at this market. Sooo good.
  • Sampeng night market
  • Thipsamai: pad Thai!
  • Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai: fresh fried noodles
  • Mr Joe Crispy Pork– must order extra pork!
  • Haa Bao Thao– five sisters: just order what everyone else is getting- it’s so good!!!
  • After you: this is the best shave ice I’ve EVER had. Get the Thai tea one!
  • Cha Tra Mue: hands down the best Thai tea 🤤 why didn’t I buy any packets to bring home. Try the rose one too!
  • We went for food that we craved from other countries like:
  • Coco Curry:
  • Ding Tai fung:
  • Then enjoyed food in the food court of central world:
  • Staneemeehoi: it was so fun here! You have guys dressed in lingerie dancing and serving you seafood. They’ll even get together every 30 mins to dance!

Just to add- it was in a great night market as well. Great place to try other foods.

H A L L S T A T T

This is the type of town you would see on a postcard! It is absolutely beautiful and we were speechless once we arrived. A day is really all you need here but I suggest spending the night and waking up early to beat the crowd.

Things you must know:

  • Everything closes down around 6-7 so eat early and bring snacks if you get hungry at night
  • If you want a beautiful photo- go during sunrise. There is no crowd or large groups of tourist in the way
  • Hotels strictly have a check in time- no check in beforehand
  • In the wintertime- attractions like the 5 fingers close from December 4 till after the holidays. We unfortunately were there during this time.

Transportation:

  • Bus: if you arrive by bus- it’ll take u directly in the town
  • Train: the train will take you across the town and then you will need to take a ferry to get into the town
  • Car: the town is quite small so there is no parking. If you’re staying the night go to P1 parking:
  • It’s $14 euros for 1-3 days
  • Make sure you choose hotel parking and register with the attendant. From there, a shuttle will arrive to take you to your hotel with your luggage.

Places to see:

  • 5 fingers– closed for the holidays- make sure you look into this before you go. We were so disappointed but also know you will need to take a cable car up.
  • Salt mine
  • Hallstatt Skywalk – judging from photos it was beautiful. Sad we missed it
  • Classic village view point
  • Walk around the town- it’s beautiful!
  • Then if you have time- you MUST see this beautiful lake: Lake Gosausee. The Alps reflecting in the waters… so picturesque. This was probably my favorite view. I would have sat her for hours if I could’ve!

C H I A N G M A I

Where to stay:

  • Near the Chiang Mai Night Market
    • We stayed at Kate and Hasu
  • In the Nimmanhaemin area

Things to do:

  • Shopping at the night market
  • Grand Canyon Chiang Mai
  • Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Make sure you book in advance for the Nature Elephant Park. We did not so we went to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary instead.
  • Bua Tong Waterfalls
  • Umbrella Making Center
  • Pongyang Jungle Coaster & Zipline
  • Rent a bike!
  • Huay Tueng Thao Reservoir
  • Baby Tigers at Tiger Kingdom

Where to eat:

  • Eat at the night market
  • Dash
  • SP Chicken
  • Cheevit Cheeva
  • Chang Phuaek Pork Leg Rice
  • Snowbuff Coffee
  • Barneo Dessert Bar
  • Kanjana
  • One Street Food Market

T O R O N T O

Growing up, my family took many trips to Toronto since we lived Grand Rapids, Michigan and it wasn’t too bad of a drive (6 hrs). I remember the amazing Asian food and the beautiful scenery of Toronto. I knew I had to revisit and take Billy! Luckily we have friends that live in Toronto now and got some amazing recommendations- Thank you Grace and Huy!

Things to do:

  • Visit the Niagara Falls (~1.5 hours from Toronto):We visited the falls on the US and the Canada side- Canada side would have to be my favorite. While you’re there, take a boat tour to the falls on the Hornblower ($26 CAD). The tour was breathtaking, wet, but so fun!
  • We were on a tight schedule and weren’t able to stay as long as we hoped for but these were other things on our list:
  • Journey Behind the Falls
  • White Water Walk
  • Niagara’s Fury
  • Whirlpool Aero Car
  • Floral Showhouse
  • New York’s Niagara Falls Observation Deck
  • Enjoy a relaxing scroll around Harbour Square Park
  • Visit the Distillery Historic District
  • Layout at Woodbine Beach
  • Catch a beautiful glimpse of Lake Ontario at Scarborough Beach
  • Take some photos outside of Aga Khan Museum
  • Visit the CN Tower
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • The Rec Room Toronto

Eat Drink Repeat:

  • Fisherman Wharf Lobster Supper- home of the lobster tower! (~$400 USD)
  • Shinta- AYCE Wagyu BBQ (~$90 USD)
  • Royal Tea- Get your bear Brick Bottle for (~$2 USD)
  • Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine- Great Dim Sum
  • Crack De Creme
  • Menami- Mmm Udon
  • Onezo Tapioca- homemade tapioca balls( so many flavors)
  • Uncle Tetsu Japanese

Places we wanted to try and were recommended to us:

  • Strange Love Coffee
  • Ajisen Ramen
  • ICHA Tea
  • Eva’s Orginal Chimney’s
  • Sorelle and Co. Bakery
  • Konjiki Ramen
  • Daldongnae Korean BBQ
  • Millie Cafe
  • Platform Espresso Bar
  • Wooffles and Cream
  • Alcove Coffee
  • Janchenko Bakery

Overall, I will definitely come back to Toronto! There’s so much to see, do, and eat!

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco, the city of cable cars and home of the Golden Gate Bridge! I’ve visited this city twice already and I still want to go back. Below are some tip and suggestions if you were to visit San Francisco!

Tips:

  • Do not rent a car. There will be no place for you to park and it’ll cost you around $70 for Hotel Parking. San Francisco has plenty of ways you can get around: so rent a bike, ride the cable cars, take an Uber/Lyft.
  • The only time i would rent a car is to drive into napa and then return the car when you get back in San Francisco
  • When booking flights, look to see if Oakland is cheaper because it’s the same distance as SFO airport to get into the city.

Things to do, Places to see:

  • Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Hideout at Kirby’s Cove
  • Catch a view at Land’s End- you may even see whales!
  • Hang out at the Golden Gate Park
  • Take a photo at the Palace of Fine Arts
  • Eat and Stroll through Pier 39
  • Book in advance (90 days) to tour the Alcatraz Prison
  • Visit the 5 story mall: Westfield
  • Check out the Sutro Baths
  • Visit Point Bonita Lighthouse
  • Check out Lombard Street
  • Walk around Chinatown

Eat, Drink, Repeat:

  • Boba Guys: Matcha Strawberry is my fav there!
  • Steap: More boba!
  • Liholiho- they were booked up but i heard its worth the try
  • The Buena Vista: Must try their irish Coffee!
  • Scoma
  • Eat along Pier 39/Fisherman Wharf area
  • Boudin Bakery: check out how they make their sourdough breads and try the calm chowder!
  • Mr. Holmes Bakehouse: Get ready to stand in line here! It’s the most instagrammable place but is it worth the wait? not really lol
  • House of Prime Rib: definitely make reservations in advance, i still haven’t got on the books to try it yet.

TRAVEL PLANNING

I travel about once a month and I often get ask: How do you plan your trip?

Search the location you want to pin and hit save:

Now I like to use hearts for where I want to go and star as my hotel. Please choose to your liking:

And there you have it! This technique will eliminate that spreadsheet of yours and also save you time! When I’m in a certain area, I would knock out as many “heart pins” as I can.

2. PINTEREST! This website has really help me plan out my trips, decor, life, etc.

You will find the most beautiful photos that will inspired your next trip. Don’t forget to save the pin on your map along the way!

3. INSTAGRAM! Ooo the gram has really allowed me to express my love for photography. I uploaded pictures for years on Facebook and MySpace but Instagram took it to another level! It’s also inspiring to see others do the same. I find so many destinations I want to visit coming across photos on insta. Don’t forget to check mine: l.n.daa

4. Search for the right credit card! I currently have the Southwest Card and the Chase Reserve. Needless to say, I pay with points when I travel!

The chase has a high yearly fee $450 plus $75 for an additional cardholder BUT you get:

  • one $300 yearly bill credit for any purchase made within a travel category (hotel, flight, car)
  • 3X The points with travel and dining purchases, a priority pass to some airport lounges
  • it also covers the purchase of 1 global entry or TSA ( I would get global entry since it includes TSA)
  • Travel insurance and more!
  • 100,000 points (after spending x in x months)- this promotion may still be valid.

So let’s just say it pays for itself!

D E N V E R

While alot of people visit Denver to go snowboarding and Skiing, I visit to enjoy a good hike! Below I listed some of my favorite spots- hope it helps your planning!

Tips:

  • Colorado has the highest elevation than any other state. Therefore, drink lots of water to avoid altitude sickness.
  • The Bus going up and down 16th street is free! Hop on once you get tired from shopping
  • Rent a car if you want to visit the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Springs
  • Bring snow shoes if you’re hiking in the Rockies at that time of the year

Places to go:

Rocky Mountains:

Dream Lake:

  • Emerald Lake,
  • Lake Isabella
  • Blue Lake
  • Calypso Cascades
  • Saint Malo Chapel on the Rock
  • Black Lake
  • Sky Pond
  • Bear Lake
  • Estes Park

  • Pikes Peaks (Near Colorado Springs)
  • Gardens of the God(Near Colorado Springs)
  • Red Rock Canyon Open Space(Near Colorado Springs)
  • Red Rock Amplitheater
  • The Broadmoor Seven Falls: 200+ steps to get to the top or the falls(Near Colorado Springs)
  • Cheyenne Zoo(Near Colorado Springs)
  • Cave of the Winds Mountain Park(Near Colorado Springs)
  • Manitou Cliff Dwellings
  • Shop, stroll, or hop on the bus on 17th street. so much to see!
  • Beer Tours:
    • Coors
    • Great Divide Brewing Co
    • Wynkoop Brewing Co
    • Breckenridge Brewery
  • Rent an electric scooter in downtown to get around. Just download the app, scan and go!

Eat, Drink, Repeat:

  • Coffee Shops
    • The Molecule Effect
    • Little Owl Coffee
    • Thump Coffee
    • Crema Coffee House
    • Aviano Coffee
    • Sonder Coffee
The Molecule effect: Lavender Coffee
  • Food:
    • MUST GO TO ODYSSEY BISTRO AND GRILL!!! Order the Fisherman’s Platter- $40 BUT it can feed 3 people and it loaded with seafood. Also, we got it with the spicy red sauce- YUM!
    • Syrup: the kitchen sink is a heartattack waiting to happen but it was so good! Biscuits and gravy, with bacon, tator tots, and a fried egg.
    • Sassafras American Eatery: Breakfast Mac and Cheese was the bomb
    • The Denver Central Market: Food Hall
    • Stotic and Genuine
    • Moxie’s : Fresh Bread and pastries- o so good!