May Self-Care Ideas!

Hey everyone!

Often times when it comes to self-care, I’ve heard people repeat the concept that self-care is self-discipline. While I personally believe self-care can be so much more than that, I’ve really come to understand what people mean when they say this about self-care the last few months. While I still believe that concepts such as spa nights, taking baths and face masks are an important part of taking care of yourself and helping you stay relaxed — discipline is needed to take care of yourself of a daily basis.

During stay-at-home, while I have absolutely nothing but my own willpower to keep my life on track, I’ve really began to see the value in the idea of self-discipline as self care. The best way I can think of to explain is that good things are only good in moderation. For instance, as much as I love the idea of eating pizza and Chinese takeout every day — it would be expensive and wildly unhealthy. And as much as I really do love sleeping — if I don’t set alarms in the morning, I oversleep, leaving me feeling tired for the rest of whatever’s left of the day. As well, when it comes time to sleep the next night, I have trouble falling asleep — causing me stress and ruining my sleep schedule. And of course, as I explained a little in my stay-at-home routine blog, as much as it sounds like a great idea to sit around watching Netflix 24/7, it means I won’t complete any of my tasks, I’ll stay in bed all day, and I’ll eventually get extra-bored when I run out of shows to watch. I think you’re probably getting the point — while a lot of these things are great every once in a while, it’s the concept of moderation that keeps them from having a negative effect on my health, mental well-being and stress levels.

As such, I’ve kind of decided to take this self-care list in a bit of a different direction for this spring — and I’m sharing my favourite ways to maintain self-discipline in the face of having absolutely no responsibilities and nothing tying you down to your routine. If we can take the time to master these now, imagine how much more productive, relaxed, and happy we’ll all be with our new habits when we’re back to normal life!

Keeping A Routine

Okay, yes, I know I just went over this. But it’s really been crazy helpful in terms of holding it together. I think something that’s important when you’re trying to settle into a schedule is to remember you don’t have to have it down perfectly from the get-go. It’s hard! Trust me, it won’t happen overnight. It took me WEEKS to really get my schedule and wake up times to regulate — and then they ended up falling apart shortly thereafter. But even when you’re just starting out, having the routine will help you do everything you’ve been meaning to do, stay organized, have your own free time, and seriously help reduce stress. Plus, even when it’s not perfect, it’s still better than nothing.

Meditating 

This gets thrown around a lot on people’s lists, but I feel like it rarely gets taken to heart. I think a lot of people either mean to incorporate it into their life and forget, or don’t see how it will benefit them. If you have trouble remembering to meditate, but have been meaning to, start small! Try practicing every other night, or even just once a week. As well, with habits I’m trying to incorporate into my daily routine, I find it helps to do them first thing in the morning or right before bed — whichever you prefer. For those of those who don’t understand how meditating will help — that’s fair! But when was the last time you intentionally took a break, or checked in with yourself? Put aside all your responsibilities intentionally, and took a moment to relax? I’d suggest trying it once — there’s no harm, and if it doesn’t work out then it’s no biggie!

Morning Workouts

This is something I had always wanted to get into, but didn’t have the motivation to start before now. One of my biggest challenges with working out daily was the inconvenience of finding the right time — waking up early to do it was challenging (but otherwise the perfect time), the middle of the day really eats up a lot of time and leaves you feeling kinda gross and sweaty all day after. Early evenings after class ended up too close to dinner time (however I can see how after a 9-5 could be very convenient), and late night I just hated for so many reasons. I’m taking this time now to add in a little morning workout to my routine in hopes that I’ll stick with it once we’re back to normal. It’ll definitely be a challenge to keep it up every day in the future, but for right now, I love how refreshed it helps me feel, as well as how it’s trickier to put off and helps me get a good start on my day.

Positive Affirmations

This aspect of self-care is something I’ve really been trying to incorporate into my days lately. The way we speak to ourselves MATTERS. If nothing else, remember that “faking it ’til you make it” often works. If you don’t feel confident? Fake it. Saying positive things about yourself every day feels wrong? Fake it. There’s absolutely no downside to practicing positive affirmations, but so much to be gained. So go ahead, try it! Speak some good things into existence and try hyping yourself up every once in a while.

Eating Healthy 

Yes, this is another really obvious one — but it’s vital to feeling your best. It’s hard to get into the habit of eating healthy every day, but once you start it’s not hard to keep it up. The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to maintain balance — it’s next to impossible to never eat an unhealthy snack or meal EVER. I usually go for one unhealthy snack or meal per day, but the rest should ideally be healthy. As well, when you’re busy it’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy diet without prep — I always ensure to meal prep and have three breakfast/lunch ideas planned out and ready to make so I can switch it up when they get repetitive. I’ve found it really easy with my stay-at-home lifestyle to make all my food myself — with all my newfound time and energy, it’s actually a lot less stressful than ordering takeout — and the way it has me feeling is AMAZING.

Doing Things That Make You Feel Good About Yourself

This one is really anything you want it to be. Does doing your makeup every so often make you feel better about yourself? Maybe dressing up nice, or doing your hair, makes you feel a little more put together and normal during this absolute not-normal time? Who knows! It could be a face mask, or a hair cut, or whatever it’ll take to make you feel a little happier with your appearance. It’ll help you feel happier and more confident — which is important to maintaining good mental health right now.

Going Outside

This is extra important right now — get some fresh air! It doesn’t have to be anything huge — it can literally just be sitting on your front lawn, at a local park, or whatever your heart desires. Getting in some sunshine and getting out of our inside spaces is so important — it really will do your mental health a world of good. I’ve even been thinking of adding a little walk to my daily schedule to help me spend more time outside and to ensure I get a little fresh air every day.

Staying Organized

As someone who was formerly super-messy, totally unorganized and completely winging it in every situation, I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much being organized reduces your stress. Even though I was a highly-functioning hot mess (never missed assignments, meetings or social activities, never lost or damaged items in my messy living space, never really felt my life was out of control), just knowing that everything is written down, planned out, or cleaned up just takes an extra load of worry off and frees up extra space in your brain. I know it’s all pretty obvious in theory, but you don’t really realize how helpful it is until you try it for yourself. No matter how organized you already are, take a day or two to deep-clean and re-organize all of your things, organize all your important deadlines and to-do lists, and schedule out everything you need to do. Not just once — doing this once a month will really help you keep everything under control and keep you stress-free.

+ Regular Self Care!

Don’t forget about taking time out of your schedule to treat yourself and unwind — it’s still important! Self-discipline isn’t the only kind of self-care out there. Plan a little spa night, take a day off to watch Netflix in bed, take a bath — whatever it is you love doing for self care most! This one’s really up to you, so feel free to free-style! (Plus, if you need any ideas, you can always check out my previous posts on self care.).

I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy, especially with everything beginning to re-open around the world. I’ve personally been finding re-opening weirder than quarantine — it’s strange having life at a different new-normal, and it’s hard to tell what’s actually safe or not. As such, I’ve kind of been leaning into my routines and habits even more lately — no matter what’s happening in the outside world, they remain consistent. As for what’s up in my life — I’m about to begin the job hunt for my first post-grad job! Getting started (especially with the world right now) is definitely a little daunting (but also incredibly exciting) — wish me luck!

Xo,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Disney World!

Happy Sunday everyone!

So, as many of you may already know, I spent my winter holidays this year travelling with my family down to Florida. We spent the first part of our getaway located in the Delray area of West Palm Beach (if you’re interested, you can read all about that here!) before moving on to Disney World!

My family and I are definitely amongst some of the more seasoned Disney travellers — we’ve been countless times, and we all know what we like and what we don’t. So, for today’s post, I’ve compiled a little guide based on our day-by-day of this years trip! This post specifically features Disney’s Magic and Animal Kingdom, as well as Universal Studios. However, if you have any other questions about Disney World and it’s other parks, eats, hotels or attractions that I didn’t visit/discuss this time around, feel free to message me! Chances are I’ve experienced it before, and I’d be more than happy to help anyone (especially if you’re planning your own Disney getaway!).

Our Accommodations

This time around, we chose to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. I’ve stayed in this resort before, but not since I was very young, so it was a crazy little blast from the past. Not only is this resort full of beautiful decor and lush gardens, it’s just two monorail stops away from the Magic Kingdom — making it a very convenient place to stay for the duration of a Disney getaway.

This resort features a whole campus of buildings (and waterfront villas!!!), multiple pools, a restaurant and bar plus so many other activities — meaning if you’re staying for a longer trip, there’s no limit on fun stuff to do right at the hotel.

Our stay was rather short, so I didn’t really get the chance to indulge in any of these extras — but it was still a great place to stay with some of the most friendly hotel staff I’ve ever come across. (Plus, when you stay in any Disney Resort you usually get the option of entering the park an hour earlier than the general public!).

Friday: Universal Studios

Friday morning, my family and I woke up crazy early and took a little road trip down from Delray to Orlando. One thing that’s pretty important, especially if you’re not planning a week-long trip with all kinds of time, is to ensure you get to the parks as close to opening as possible to avoid crazy lines. The lines at just about any ride at Universal Studios are bound to be insane, but all of their biggest attractions (such as the rides included in Harry Potter World) can get to be hours long — so you need as much time as possible to fit it all in!

What To Do

Universal Studios, in my opinion, is definitely known for their crazy VR-type rides and bigger rollercoasters. While this definitely makes it a little less friendly for little ones, some of these rides are incredibly mind-blowing and an experience unlike any other. In terms of the absolute best, can’t-miss rides, I’d have to say the rides that combine VR-type video into the ride are the most important, since I’ve never experienced anything like them anywhere else. My can’t-miss rides would have to be:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • The Simpson’s Ride
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
What To Eat

I feel like I may be stating the obvious here, but the absolute can’t-miss food at Universal Studios definitely comes down to one thing: Butter Beer. Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, this stuff is absolutely delicious and totally worth trying. Otherwise, there’s all kinds of other Harry Potter themed food and candies you can try at HoneyDukes that are all outstanding. If you’re looking for a full meal, there’s countless restaurants at the entrance of the park, as well as stands that offer classic theme-park fare.

Helpful Tips

The lines at Universal Studios are the longest I’ve seen at any theme park, both in Florida and worldwide, so it’s definitely best to plan out your day as much as possible, and arrive as early as you can. Plus, if you’re willing to spend a little extra money to spend on Express Passes, it’ll definitely make your day a whole lot more action-packed and enjoyable.

Saturday: The Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is arguably the most iconic attraction at Disney World — everyone can instantly recognize the classic Cinderella castle from any picture, any time. If you’ve never been to Disney before, this is obviously the one park you can’t miss. And, like me, if you’ve already been — then the nostalgia that this park has to offer is basically unparalleled. Even though it rained through most of our morning here, we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying all of our all-time favourite rides.

What To Do

The Magic Kingdom, for me at least, is definitely more of a nostalgia experience rather than a day full of thrill rides and coasters. This year, there were a couple rides my family had to cut from the usual list (such as the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides) due to weather and time restrictions, however, this really helped me narrow down my personal list of can’t miss rides in the park. While this list may change a bit person to person as it is, once again, rather nostalgia based, I feel like I’ve got down pretty much every classic you’d need to see if you’re going for a first-time vacation.

My absolute, all-time favourite rides that you HAVE to visit if you’re heading to Disney’s Magic Kingdom would have to be:

  • The Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Thunder Mountain
  • It’s A Small World (my sister’s all time favourite, she would KILL me if I didn’t add it to the list)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • The Jungle Cruise
  • Space Mountain (a classic, although I do find it a little terrifying and whiplash inducing)
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Splash Mountain
What To Eat

While there are countless snacks and sweets all around the Magic Kingdom that are absolutely fantastic, I feel I’d have to argue the can’t-miss classic this park has to offer would definitely be the Dole Whip. Not only is is sweet and delicious, it defiantly helps to have a nice, cool snack whenever the sun comes out in the Florida heat. My sister would definitely also argue the turkey legs are a can’t-miss, but I usually pass on those — they’re too barbaric for me!

Helpful Tips

Disney doesn’t offer a more expensive, express-pass type of ticket — however, you do get 3 Fast-Passes per day in each park that you can re-book for another ride as soon as you use them up. My recommendation would definitely be to try to book your three passes for some of the most popular rides — such as Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain — and try to arrive as early as possible to fit in as many others as you can. From there, you can always rebook your passes as you use them up for any other rides you don’t want to miss! As well, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, they often feature a Magic Hour where you get the option to enter the park an hour before the general public. Don’t let the early hour dissuade you — it’s 100% worth it to wake up early and hit as many rides as you can before the lines start getting crazy.

Sunday: The Animal Kingdom

We finished up Sunday by heading off to the Animal Kingdom. While the overall vibe of the Animal Kingdom is a lot less ride-based than the other Disney parks, over the last ten years it’s developed a couple newer rides that definitely bring the thrills ride-lovers may be hoping for.

What To Do

One of the newest, biggest attractions Disney has to offer is it’s two newest Avatar-themed rides — Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Both of these rides offer the best new ride technology Disney has to offer — the former with a similar VR-type experience to the rides at Universal and the latter with animatronics and live-action effects. While I only have three “can’t-miss” (confession: I actually haven’t been on one of these, but I really wish I had the chance) rides for the Animal Kingdom, these three rides honestly may be the best Disney has to offer. The top three rides, without a doubt, are most definitely:

  • Expedition Everest
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Avatar Flight of Passage

I’ll give a little more explanation here because I feel these rides deserve it. Expedition Everest is not only one of the coolest rollercoasters I’ve ever been on — no VR or 3D effects required. Plus, it’s the biggest thrill ride that I can think of at Disney World offhand — it actually has huge drops and is more of a classic coaster. It’s so fun, the first time I ever rode it with my family we legit went on it about 13 times straight. It’s THAT good.

The Na’vi River Journey ride and the Avatar Flight of Passage are two of the newest to Disney’s parks. The rides are based on the 2009 film Avatar, which Disney will be releasing a sequel to later this year. This means that not only have they just installed these attractions, there’s actually and entire area of the Animal Kingdom built to replicate the Avatar world. I will admit — it was not only strikingly realistic and similar to the films, but also pretty awe-inspiring. While I (sadly) only got the chance to go on the Na’vi River Journey ride (and therefore it’s the only one I can really speak on), I have to say, I was beyond impressed. This ride is not meant to be a thriller, but rather a smooth water ride through a nighttime landscape straight out of the Avatar world. Not only was it incredibly true to the film and absolutely stunning — there were also a couple of incredibly realistic animatronic versions of a few characters from the film. I’m talking so real, it was almost a little scary. I’ve truly never seen anything like it before, ever. If you’re ever visiting the Animal Kingdom, trust me, you don’t want to miss this ride.

What To Eat
Photo by Andrijana Bozic on Unsplash

This park is full of just about any kind of cuisine you could ever want — since it has different areas themed after different parts of the world, there’s a wide array of food from all different cultures. While, obviously, we didn’t get a chance to try everything, I have to say the little food carts around the park really have some fantastic eats. My two personal favourites were definitely the barbecued corn on the cob in the African exhibit, and the stir-fried pork and rice in the Asian exhibit.

Helpful Tips

Since all my tips about Fast-Passes don’t differ much from those I shared about the Magic Kingdom, I’ll just leave you with this tidbit of advice: the new Avatar rides are just about impossible to get on if you don’t book a Fast-Pass for them in advance. Any other ride at the Animal Kingdom may have a wait, but if you want to experience these rides you won’t be wasting your advance Fast Passes booking both of them, that’s for sure.

Where To Eat

Morimoto Asia

Our first night in Orlando, we headed over to Disney Spring’s to Masaharu Morimoto’s Asian fusion restaurant. To start off, my family and I split a couple appetizers — a round of Shumai as well as some tempura-fried popcorn shrimp. To finish off appetizers, we split the chef’s famous spare ribs — which were beyond spectacular. If you get the chance to visit this restaurant, then trust me — these spare ribs are their signature dish for a reason.

For dinner I ordered a plate of Orange Chicken, which was both delicious and remarkably large. Not that I’m complaining, though — I was absolutely starving after the long day I had (we had to wake sip at 5am in order to make the trek from Delray to Orlando!). For dessert, we split an order of Mochi — which was not at all what we expected it to be, but absolutely delicious nonetheless. You can see it pictured below, but in case you were wondering — it was made of an almond-flavour pudding, fresh fruit, popping boba, and mango sauce. Overall, it was an amazing meal — I’d definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re planning a Disney getaway any time in the near future.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

Okay, honestly, I wasn’t really expecting to eat one of the best meals of my life at Disney World — but this restaurant really delivered. The menu keeps it pretty simple, opting for a couple classics rather than an overwhelming list of options. However, there’s still all kinds of options for even the pickiest of eaters. My family and I ordered the three meatball appetizer and Burrata to share — and while you can NEVER go wrong with Burrata, the meatballs were absolutely to die for as well. Seriously, meatballs can basically never be bad — but these ones really took it to the next level.

For my entree, I ordered burrata-filled tortellini. I’m sure my comments above, both about the food quality and my love of burrata, probably give you a good idea of how I felt about this meal, but I’ll still say it, just in case: this was absolutely one of the most fantastic meals I’ve had. Its hard to go wrong with simplicity, and just pasta, tomato sauce and burrata can really be one of the best combinations food has to offer.

On top of all this, my family and I shared a vanilla bean creme brûlée (a classic favourite of mine), which was also fantastic. On top of all this, the cocktails were delicious and the service, while a little slow, was still pretty top-notch. Seriously, if you’re planning a trip to Disney any time soon, be sure to book this restaurant for at least one meal during your stay.

And that’s it for my Florida, USA travel segment! I hope you all enjoyed it, and hopefully if you’re planning a trip to the area anytime soon you got some useful tips and recommendations. I hope you’re all having an amazing week and that you’re absolutely crushing your January goals — be sure not to let up on that post-new years motivation!

Be sure to stay tuned next week to hear all about what it’s like getting a lash lift and my personal experience with it! Is it a worthwhile alternative to lash extensions, is it safe, is it long lasting? Don’t worry, I have all your questions (and more) covered! As well, if you’re hoping to feed your wanderlust just a little more, stay tuned for my next travel diary coming up next month — any guesses where I’ll be going next?

Much love,

Meredith

Places To Eat: Toronto Edition!

Toronto, Ontario

Hey y’all!

This past week I’ve been back in my hometown — Toronto, Ontario! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is somewhat of a cultural hub and has a HUGE foodie culture. So I figured I’d share some of the places I hit up this week that have been my favourites to visit whenever I go home!

For When You’re Craving Chinese

If you’re looking for a bit of an upscale meal, Kwan is a great place to check out. Not only is it’s Chinese food to DIE for, but it has a lovely, cozy atmosphere and a great vibe overall. If you go, don’t miss out on the truffle fried rice, sesame chicken or chilli garlic shrimp — I literally order these every time I go and they’re outstanding every time.

For When You’re In The Mood For Sweets
Booyah Ice Cream

Booyah Ice cream is straight up one of my favourite places to go for cool treats in the summer. Not only do they have their own store-made ice cream, they also offer Kawartha Dairy and soft serve! Their homemade flavours are to DIE for, just the other day I got these two scoops of Earl Gray and Honey Lavander and I was in love. On top of all that, you have the option to get it in an ice cream sandwich (featuring homemade cookies) or even ice cream tacos! This place really is one of my favourites to visit in the hot Toronto summers.

For When You’re Feeling Fancy

Buca Yorkville

If you’re feeling up for something bougie and love Italian food as much as I do, Buca is a must-try. It’s a little on the pricier side, but oh man is it ever worth it. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts (their pine panna cotta is unreal). On top of that, the environment is amazing and the service was next level. 100% recommend for a classy night out.

For When You’re Craving Mexican
La Playa Hacienda

This place seriously has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. For years, it’s been a go-to every time I go home–I’ve been sure to introduce everyone I know and they all fell in love. The tacos are outstanding, the drinks are incredible, and if you go be sure to try the Elote–it’s a personal favourite of mine. On top of all that, the vibe here is so cool, there really isn’t anything not to love.

For When You Need Your Bubble Tea Fix
Labothéry

There’s so many amazing places to get bubble tea in Toronto, but this one is just SO fun. You get to choose for yourself from so many flavours (complete with the ability to mix and match) plus so many tapioca and jelly add-ins that are so different from other places I’ve been to. This stuff was so amazing, seriously, even if it’s not nearby it’s worth the trek.

And that’s it for this time! Stay tuned for more Toronto hot spots when I go visit again this fall. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you have any suggestions for where to hit up on my next trip home I’d love to hear it!

Love you all,

Meredith

South East Asia: The Top Ten!

Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

Hey everybody!

So, as many of you know by now I’ve just returned from a trip across South East Asia that included Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. While it was all pretty amazing, I certainly had my favourite places that I’d consider to be must sees if you ever get the opportunity to travel to any of these beautiful countries! Between the ten of them, I really couldn’t pick favourites, plus everything is completely depended on what people are interested in pursuing while they travel, and which country or areas they choose to visit.

So, without further ado, here’s my top ten! They’re put in order of when we visited them, with absolutely no ranking in terms of favouritism between them. I hope if you’re reading this, it gives you ideas for where to visit on your travels or even inspires you to plan a trip! If anyone else has been/is going to any of the following places, drop a comment! I’d love to hear all about it.

Thailand
Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon, Thailand

During our time in South East Asia, Nylah and I saw more temples than I could even keep track of. Doi Inthanon, however, was something special. It was by far one of the most peaceful and magical places I have ever laid eyes on. Between the beautiful architecture of these temples and the stunning mountain top view, if you’re ever in Thailand Doi Inthanon is a temple stop you definitely can’t miss. Read my original post here!

Elephant Sanctuary, Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Thailand

When people think of Thailand, I’m sure for many elephant riding comes to mind. However, while elephant riding tours certainly still exist all over Thailand, many people have started to realize how inhumane they are to the animals. If you want to see elephants during your stay in Thailand, instead, you should check out a sanctuary like Elephant Jungle Sanctuary! Not only were many of the elephants rescued from elephant riding camps, but you could see how happy and well-cared for these animals were — something you’d definitely miss out on if you choose to ride the animals instead. Read my original post here!

Viewpoint Hike, Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi straight up has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited in my life. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, the best way to take it all in is to hike up to the viewpoint! The hike is a little challenging, but incredibly rewarding as you get a view of the whole island from the top. If you do go, be sure to check out the second viewpoint, the scenery was absolutely insane. If you’re really looking for something special, be sure to hike up for sunset/sunrise for a truly spectacular view. Read my original post here!

BONUS: Get A Thai Massage

Okay, okay, I know I said top ten, but I figured I’d add this one in as a quick bonus. While I went to get a massage in Bangkok, you really could get one anywhere in Thailand, hence why I added it as a bonus — it really isn’t location-specific. Not only can you get an amazing massage for exceptional prices, if you’ve never experienced a Thai massage it’ll be unlike any you’ve had before. Be sure to ask at your hotel/hostel for recommendations for best places in the area!

Laos
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

Oh man was this place ever magical. Kuang Si Falls is made up of a series of waterfalls, that cascade down into a set of pools you can swim in. The water is literally bright baby blue, and you can sit in the falls as well. They’re even full of those little fish they have at those pedicure places, so you can get a quick and all-natural pedi while you’re at it! Overall, this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, 10/10 would recommend. Read my original post here!

Phousi Mountain Hike, Luang Prabang
Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang, Laos

Out of all the hikes we did, this one was certainly one of my favourites. For the relatively small level of difficulty, the views were spectacular. The viewpoint at the top gave you a lookout over all of Luang Prabang and the surrounding mountains. For an extra special view, be sure to go at sunrise or sundown. Read my original post here!

Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Hanoi
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay straight up looks like a scene out of a movie — it seriously doesn’t even look real. The bay is filled with tiny mountain-like islands, in fact, there’s nearly 2000 in the area. There’s all sorts of things to do in the area, such as hikes, caves, and beaches, so if you go be sure to check out the local boat cruises — I’d recommend an overnight one at least. This place is absolutely magical, and its certainly worthwhile to spend an extra night there, see the sunset, and take in the almost-ethereal locale. Read my original post here!

Hang Múa Hike, Ninh Binh
Hang Múa, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Out of all the hikes we completed across all of South East Asia, this one was certainly the hardest–but also the most spectacular. If you’re going to give it a try, be sure to go well prepared; it’s certainly not the easiest of hikes, especially it the Vietnam heat. But the view from the top was beyond amazing, words can’t even describe how beautiful and rewarding it was. Read my original post here!

Night Food Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Night Food Market, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

South East Asia, across the board, had many of the absolute best meals I’ve had in my life — but this place was by far my favourite. Not only did it have a great atmosphere, but there was endless options to choose from. There was all kinds of food stands from a large array of Asian cuisines, without a doubt there was something there for anything you happened to be craving. If I lived in Ho Chi Minh City, I guarantee you could find me here every night. Read my original post here!

Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Along with Doi Inthanon, Angkor Wat was my favourite temple we saw along our trip (and as I said, we saw a whole lot of temples). Not only was it crazy to see how Cambodian Temples differed from those in Thailand and Laos, but the sheer size and grandeur of Angkor Wat makes it a must-see. You could easily spend hours here and feel like there’s still more to see — and the views from the top are unreal. As the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat is something you absolutely can’t miss if you’re travelling to Cambodia. Read my original post here!

Phnom Kulen Falls, Siem Reap
Phnom Kulen Falls, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Like Kuang Si Falls, Phnom Kulen Falls are a great place to stop in for a swim–but also distinctly different from the falls in Laos. This waterfall had two swimming areas; one a smaller fall that was more like a shower, and a giant pool at the bottom of the second, massive waterfall. It was so beautiful and relaxing, and I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area. Read my original post here!

So there you have it! I really hope that some of y’all can find somewhere on this list that inspires you for your next trip. If any of you have been to any of these places and would like to share your thoughts, let me know! As well, I’d love to hear it if you have any suggestions of your own. It’ll probably be a little while before I’m going to be able to travel again, but for next time I’m thinking Japan, Singapore, or Europe!

But that’s all for now! Until next time.

Lots of Love,

Meredith

Things To Do (Part Two!): Bangkok Edition!

Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

Hey y’all!

So, sadly, my time in South East Asia is coming to an end, making this the last entry in my South East Asia travel series. I hope you guys have all enjoyed reading the series as I’ve enjoyed writing it! I really hope that I’ve inspired some of you to go on adventures of your own, or hopefully take recommendations from my travels if you ever visit South East Asia in the future.

So, to end off our trip we returned to Bangkok for the last two days before our flight home. This time was a lot more eventful than the first time, since we’ve now adjusted to the time zone, weather and food, giving us waaaay more time to actually explore. That being said, we only had two days and were looking more to relax than explore for the remainder of our stay, so this entry is going to focus more on that since we didn’t see too much in terms of historical, cultural and religious attractions in Bangkok. (But hey, I guess that just gives us another reason to go back!)

So, without further ado, here’s my final travel journal (for now), an overview of my favourite things to do in Bangkok!

Go To Khao San Road!
Khao San Road, Bangkok

In terms of places to go out in Bangkok, Khao San Road is certainly one of the most popular. As a pedestrian only street, the road is full of people going out, having buckets, and blasting music! This place was an absolute blast and honestly none of my favourite nights out this whole trip. If you’re looking for a night out of the town, this place is a must-see.

Hit Up A Rooftop Bar!
Barracuda Rooftop Bar, Bangkok

Rooftop bars are officially my favourite thing. Especially in big cities like Bangkok and Hanoi, when you get an overlook of the whole city from above. Not only were the drink at this bar — named Barracuda — next level, but the views honestly just made the whole experience a 10/10. Rooftop bars are ALWAYS a good idea, but if you’re ever travelling to a big city, they’re just that much better.

Go Shopping!
Purchases From Bangkok

Okay, seriously, the shopping in Bangkok was insane. The mall we hit up had to be the biggest mall I’d ever witnessed in my whole life, and it’s far from being the only mall in Bangkok. Everywhere you look there’s opportunities to shop and get so many things that I, at least, probably would be hard pressed to find in Vancouver. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of people travelling to Bangkok JUST for the shopping, so if you ever find yourself in Bangkok, be sure not to miss out!

Get A Massage!
Massage Studio, Bangkok

If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll know that everywhere you look there’s spas and massage spots. Even if you’ve never been, it’s fairly common knowledge that Thai massages are on a level of their own. Not only that, but no matter what your price range is, you’ll be able to find a place. For only 250 Baht (about $10.50 Canadian) I seriously had the best massage of my life. I’ve never had a Thai massage before, and it was so different from what I usually think of a massage as. There’s no oil (which was actually really nice for not feeling gross after), you’re fully clothed, and it’s certainly way more about stretching and pressure points than relaxing. I’ll admit it was a little borderline painful at moments, but MAN did I ever feel good after. I have chronic knots in my back due to back problems and stress, and I’ve seriously never had my back feeling that good in ages. It was amazing.

Go To Our Fave Restaurant, Ross Kitchen!
Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

For our last dinner abroad (sigh), Nylah and I decided to go to Ross Kitchen. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The interesting catch — we didn’t really know what was in a lot of the food we were eating. Usually this would really bother me; I can be an adventurous eater but I’d like to know what it is that I’m eating. Honestly though, the food was so good we didn’t care. We didn’t even know the ingredients of our drinks, and they were some of the best I’ve ever had. If you’re in Bangkok and looking for a fancier night out, consider Ross Kitchen for sure. My dinner — Curried Kobe Beef Cheeks — was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. Seriously, I’m already dreaming of going back.

And, sadly, that wraps up my South East Asia travel series. This trip was some of the most exciting, crazy, and important weeks of my life and through all the ups and downs, it really was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m honestly not sure how to wrap up 5 weeks of this experience in a neat and tidy way — it’s far too overwhelming and impossible of a test to easily summarize the experiences I’ve had. All I can say is I know this trip will not be my last — now that I’ve really gotten a chance to go out and see the world on my own terms, I’ve just become that much more motivated to do it again. So the best I can say is stay tuned for the next trip, and let me know if you have any suggestions or were inspired by any of my posts! Honestly, nothing would make me happier than knowing I’ve inspired others to go out and see the world themselves, it really can be the most life-changing experience.

So, that’s all for now! Keep an eye out as I’ll be doing a summary of all my favourite places we visited for those looking for travel recommendations. But for now, it’s back to Vancouver life!

Thanks for reading!!! If you’re reading this now, just know I appreciate you 🙂

Love,

Meredith