I’m back from the other side of the world!
Real talk: My mind and body are still 12 hours ahead. *cue the espresso*
It’s incredible what 2 straight weeks with your long-distance significant other can do for your heart and sanity. It was the most amount of time we’ve spent together in nearly 2 years. Let that sink in for a bit. And we only argued once while hiking Dragon’s Back Mountain in Hong Kong. After a 3 hour hike turned into 5. After my old foot injury started acting up. After it was balls hot. After we hadn’t eaten in 5 hours. And WE SURVIVED.
We did this trip a bit differently, not having each day planned out other than, “This sounds cool. Let’s do this.” But, man, it was pretty jam-packed from start to finish–and it was great!
Did I mention we paid less than $500 for hotels and flights and we flew business class there and back? Be patient, my little grasshoppers. I’ll show you in due time how we did it.
Here’s a small sneak peak of our itinerary to get your mouths watering before I blog about each city and country.
On the way there, we flew Cathay Pacific from Chicago in business class on our 15 hour flight to Hong Kong. I had two 3-course meals, got to lay down to sleep and watched the Oscary-worthy, The Emjoji Movie. On our way home, we flew Asiana Airlines from Bangkok with a layover in Seoul, and then onto our 13 hour flight into New York. This time, I ate another two 3-course meals, laid down to sleep and watched real Oscar-worthy movies, The Darkest Hour and Dunkirk–which I highly recommend watching together in one night if you can.
We stayed 4 nights, splitting our stay between the Intercontinental Hong Kong and the Conrad Hong Kong. Both were spectacular. We explored Kowloon, ate enough Dim Sum to feed an army and, like I mentioned above, did a longer than expected hike of Dragon’s Back. Our last night we did a food tour with WithLocals and weaved our way in and out of local markets and restaurants. Oh yeah, this was after the hike too. I believe I had close to 30K steps that day. Feet, on fire!
We landed in Hanoi early in the morning after a quick flight from Hong Kong. We spent 3 nights at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is only a 15 minute walk from the Old Quarter, where all the fun stuff happens. Hanoi is a game of frogger–don’t look, just cross the street and the scooters will adjust their path around you. It took me 2 days to accept that I wasn’t going to die. We did a historical tour with HanoiKids and a street food tour with Intrepid. Can we talk about my newfound love of Banh Mi and Vietnamese coffee? (Sorry Cuba, Vietnam stole my coffee-loving heart.) Don’t worry, I’ll be diving into this perfect sandwich and coffee in further blogs.
After an hour-ish flight from Hanoi, we landed in Central Vietnam in a coastal city called Da Nang. It was the prefect respite for us from the wonderful chaos of Hanoi. We stayed for 3 nights at the Hyatt Regency Resort Danang and honestly, we probably should have stayed another full night. It was glorious! Each day we’d take the shuttle into Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage city, to sample some local food (Cao Lau!) and get clothes made. YES! Hoi An is known for their tailoring. I bought 3 dresses and the hubster bought an entire new wardrobe. Keep your eyes peeled for an entire blog post dedicated to that experience.
We booked our flight to Cambodia using whatever Delta SkyMiles we had left, which took us back through Hanoi and landed us in Siem Reap about an hour and a half later. It was great use of our miles and we barely lost any time to traveling. Cambodia will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was the first country we explored in Southeast Asia 4 years ago. We specifically came back to Siem Reap for 2 nights to further explore Angkor Wat, the largest religious complex in the world. We used the same thoughtful and generous tour guide, Tep Nat, who took us to quiet, off the beaten path temples that we would have never discovered on our own. If you want to feel like Indiana Jones, be sure to look for my next posts about exploring Angkor Wat.
Those 2 weeks were just what the doctor ordered. (Ha. Pun intended. Dr. Hubster.) I’m incredibly grateful to be able to travel the world and let little nooks of my heart and mind be forever changed by the cultures and people I meet.
What are you most excited to read about on Not Your Average Gal?