All posts tagged: Must Do’s

A Gastronomic Weekend in Lyon, France

On my quick trip to France, I was enticed to come to Lyon by its gastronomic reputation even among my non-foodie friends. The best way to explore this charming city is with a local guide, and I just happen to have one in the family. My cousin, NT, planned our never-ending walk around town to explore Lyon in 1.5 days, which turned out to be much-needed exercise from all the delicious food that we ate. In this post, I will share our walking and eating tour of this charming and unassuming city. Day 1: Dinner at Restaurant M After arriving from Aix-en-Provence in the late afternoon, I only had enough time for dinner. NT introduced me to her favorite low-key restaurant in Lyon, Restaurant M. This is a contemporary French restaurant helmed by Julien Gautier, from Léon de Lyon – a 2 Michelin star restaurant. With a Michelin pedigree, the price was shockingly cheap. The menu is only 39 euros for entrée, plat and dessert. The atmosphere is of your neighborhood bistro and the restaurant …

A Short Visit to Tokyo

Tokyo is a dizzying hub of sights and sounds and was also the first destination on this 2.5 week trip to Japan for my mom’s special birthday. While I have been exploring this city over the past 10 years, it was her first time in Tokyo,  I created this truncated itinerary to give her the best flavors of Tokyo in a relatively short duration and I’m excited to share it with you. Day 1: Arrival into Narita Terminal 2 and the Shibuya Scramble We arrived on Japan Airline at Narita Terminal 2 in the early afternoon and proceeded to procure a pocket Wifi. This was very important as we needed the data service for navigation throughout the country. I went to the J Wifi and JAL ABC counters located on the first floor and Softbank Global Rental and XCom Global counters located in the basement level near the train platform to search for the best data plan. (see Terminal 2 map) After getting my exercise running around the terminal, I concluded that J Wifi had …

Explore Marrakesh (Morocco) Like in Insider

Marrakesh, with its kaleidoscope architecture and chaotic souks, can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. I had an opportunity to visit Marrakesh for four days with my friends who have been there numerous times and had local recommendations from their friend, Zach Idrissi, the owner of Amani Hotel. Having local guidance to ease me into this overstimulating experience was a welcome blessing since I was flying solo for most of my stay in the city. I also lucked out by going around Ramadan as everything was calmer and more laid back. The markets and attractions will close a bit earlier around 5pm, but the aggressive behavior in the souks will generally be less prevalent. This makes for an overall pleasant and safe experience for solo travelers. Where to eat: Have an afternoon tea break on the terrace of La Mamounia and take a stroll in their manicured garden. You should check the availability for non-hotel guests as the hotel started to restrict non-hotel guests to certain hours for tea. Have dinner at Le Tanjia where there …

Essential Travel Tips for Marrakesh and Morocco

Traveling to Morocco for the first time can be intimidating and overwhelming for many travelers, even for the experienced folks. The mélange of sights, sounds, and cultural differences in this vibrant city can trip many up. These are tips that can help make your arrival smoother and less stressful. 1- Book a transfer from Marrakesh Airport to your hotel. Taxis in Marrakesh have a well-deserved awful reputation for ripping off tourists and also refusing to turn on their meters. After a long flight, the last thing you want to do is haggle for a reasonable fare. I highly recommend Marrakesh Airport Transfer. I booked online two days before my arrival with flight information. My driver was waiting for me after I exited baggage claim with my name on an easily identifiable sign and escorted me to a clean air-conditioned car. The cost was approximately $12 for a 15-minute ride to the Sofitel in the city center for one person. Prices will change depending on the number of people and the destination. I checked with my local …

Restaurants to Try in Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon (Vietnam) for 2018

On my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City (“HCMC” or “Saigon”), my local friends recommended a few of their favorite restaurants (a combination of classics that we highlighted in previous posts and current hot spots). I was able to try a few and loved their recommendations. As many of my friends and colleagues continue to ask me where to eat in Saigon for their upcoming trips, I decided to share this list. Phở Lệ Address: 303-305 Võ Văn Tần, Phường, District 5 / Tel: +84. 3834.4486 This is an oldie, but a goodie with all the locals. When I had a craving for a good bowl of southern phở, my god sister (a Saigon native) and I ventured to Phở Lệ in District 3 (the second location is in District 7). The restaurant is your quintessential phở restaurant with a short menu of the famous noodle soup with a variety of meat toppings. The broth is rich, sweet (from the herbs and fruits) and robust, which can only be achieved from hours of cooking …

Must Do’s: Oxford, England

I traveled to Oxford for work several times over the past few years and fell completely in love with this English city.  Oxford is full of picturesque historical buildings that have been perfectly preserved.  You feel like you are walking through history along the cobble stone pathways.  The local myth is that Hitler wanted to make Oxford his new headquarter and therefore ordered for it to be “left alone” during WWII.  We are fortunate enough to have this city  preserved for our enjoyment. It’s also favorite location for the film industry.  You might feel a sense of familiarity with the buildings as Harry Potter was filmed at Christ Church, Bodleian Library and New College.  Downtown Abbey also used Oxfordshire (the suburbs of Oxford) for their filming locations. For more information on locations used by the film industry, click on Film locations. Here are my recommendations for Oxford. Getting to Oxford: Oxford is a close day trip for those staying in London.  I normally fly into London and stay a day or two to visit friends before heading to Oxford.  My …

Must Do’s: Holidays in NYC

The holiday season is a popular time to visit NYC and it is not hard to see why. The festive holiday spirit is in full force and there are many activities suitable for everyone. Whether you are a visitor or a local, the holiday season in the city is something everyone is excited about. We compiled a list of must do’s holiday activities for New York City. Bryant Park Winter Village –(41 W 40th St between Sixth and Fifth Avenues) The Bank of America Winter Village opens on October 29 and stays open through March 5, 2017. During the holiday, the skating rink is surrounded by a winter village filled with food and gift vendors. The 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is also free to the public and you can bring your own or rent the skates. Weekends are particularly popular and the line can go around the block. Come early if you plan on ice skating at this rink. There is also a big Christmas tree overlooking the rink and makes for some wonderful photo opportunity. Radio …