Travel Diaries: The South America Lessons Learned

Posted May 7, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

Every time I come back from a long trip (okay, I’ve only done two in my life, but STILL), I’ve found solo traveling to be a great time for reflection and realizations. Each trip has had its own themes. My first trip to Southeast Asia was all about learning how to live in the moment, accept …

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The Bolivia (and Peru) Travel Diaries: Links, Links, and More Links…

Posted March 30, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

So I have a confession to make: I actually have two travel blogs/diaries. One is for myself personally (this one), which allows me to be fully honest and rant and rave about not only my travels, but my personal life. And the other one is for the general public and people interested in travel (as …

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La Paz: Walking Slow and The Valley of the Moon

Posted February 3, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

A girl tapped me on the shoulder and said to me in English, “Can you look at my bag for me for a second?” “Sure, I’ll watch your bag, no problem.” While she was gone, I noticed the button on her bag that said “Berkeley”. “Did you go to Berkeley?” I asked her when she …

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Welcome to Bolivia: 24 Hours in Copacabana

Posted February 2, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  1 Comment

While my guide back in Puno told me that Copa would be just like Puno (“it’s the same lake”, he told me) my other friends said otherwise. “It’s just a small beachside town of about 6,000 people where you can meet hippies and hang out by the lake” Penny told me. The trip to Copacabana, …

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Puno Pt. II: Back to Puno

Posted January 28, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  1 Comment

The next day, we woke early to a traditional breakfast of bread, butter, mate tea and a pancake. Ernesto brought out his English-Spanish book and I got a chance to work with him on his English, which was another great experience. It’s definitely best when these visits become more of an exchange than a one-sided …

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Puno, Part I: From Vicunas to Floating Islands

Posted January 21, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

When I first arrived at my hostel in Arequipa, I often wondered why some of the other hostel guests would sit around and watch movies in the common areas or be on the internet during the day. And then I realized: while Arequipa was a beautiful city, there’s frankly not that much to do around …

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Arequipa: A Throwback to Colonial Times

Posted January 19, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

Arequipa is HELLA different from Cusco. While Cusco was cold, rainy and surrounded by Incan temples and sites, Arequipa has a warmer climate, is very modern, and is hella Eurpoean-ish. Colonial-style buildings, new department stores, and giant churches dominate the area around the Plaza de las Armas. The main thing that tourists do around Arequipa …

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Peru Travel Diaries: Cusco to Arequipa

Posted January 15, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

(Sorry in advance, this is probably going to be boring. As my semi-public travel journal, I try to recapture all my travel memories out here for my own enjoyment and nostalgia) Everyone left the morning after Machu Picchu to go to Lima before heading back to the states. I stayed in Cusco since I planned …

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Part II: Machu Picchu – Realizations from New Year’s Day

Posted January 10, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

Okay, let me back up this story a lil bit. To give a little context to our trek: the Inca Trail – or “el Camino Inka” – was the path the Inca (kings) used to make the journey to Machu Picchu. Along the trail, they built different fortresses or sites along the way for various …

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Part I: Machu Picchu is not to be taken lightly

Posted January 5, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

The idea of taking a two month trip to South America began last winter when Penny put an email out to all of her friends, asking who wanted to hike to Machu Picchu for New Years Day 2013. I had just returned from my 5 week trip to Southeast Asia and LOVED my travels, so …

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Days 1 – 8: On Traveling (Peru is not Southeast Asia)

Posted January 2, 2013  /   By Tiffany  /  3 Comments

Okay, so I obviously know that South America isn’t Southeast Asia. As a traveler, however, I did expect certain things that just aren’t true out here: Even though it’s summer here in Peru, it’s not warm. It’s San Francisco cold. It’s starting to rain right now as I type this in my hostel’s outdoor cafe.   …

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Traveling Advice for Southeast Asia: An Open Letter to New Travelers

Posted August 3, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

For anyone traveling throughout Southeast Asia, I have seven pieces of advice for you: 1) If you have any questions about how to travel, google that shit (I did A LOT of that in the beginning of my trip). Or go to lonely planet and read their threads. Having a tablet would have been really helpful …

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Eat…Meditate…Realize Some Important *ISH

Posted February 21, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

…that would be the title of my trip through Southeast Asia. The first part of my trip was definitely about eating — off the 4 countries that I visited, Thailand had the best food in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong – Vietnamese food is good, and granted – I didn’t stay long in Cambodia …

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Post-Trip: Traveling Lessons Learned

Posted January 31, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  2 Comments

From December 12th, 2011 to Janaury 12th, 2012 — I traveled from San Francisco to Vietnam, to Thailand, to Cambodia, to Laos, and then back to Vietnam and back home again. I have to say that no words can really describe how much I fcking loved traveling and enjoyed this trip. It wasn’t like I …

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My Last Day in Southeast Asia

Posted January 30, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

While Chris, his wife, and Bobby went to see the Cu Chi tunnels, Darrel and I decided to walk around the city so that I could soak up and enjoy my last remaining hours in Vietnam. We took off around the city to eat a breakfast of soup noodles, and went out towards the Vietnam …

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Back to Saigon Again

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

The angel on my shoulder started talking to me again, telling me that I had left something back in Hanoi. I didn’t realize what it was until I reached the airport – I had somehow lost my ATM card that morning. So, I have to say that I’ve had a pretty full experience in Southeast …

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Ha Long Bay: It Was Aiiiiite

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

On my second day in Hanoi, I woke up early to catch a tour bus to Ha Long Bay. Hanoi Backpackers has two options for going to Ha Long Bay. Option #1 was the party cruise, Option #2 was the regular boat tour. I decided to go with Option #2 to avoid the very young, …

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Hanoi: San Francisco in Vietnam

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

Back at the Hanoi Backpackers Hostel, I woke up the next day to meet one of my roommates — a tall, blond Dutch woman who was also traveling solo. We got to know each other a little bit and agreed to meet up later to go on a tour of the city. At first I …

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Luang Prabang to Hanoi: From Sunny LA to a San Francisco Winter

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

During the morning I left Luang Prabang for Hanoi, I did as much as I could to enjoy my last few moments in the city. Since I had gotten such strong recommendations to visit Laos, I originally planned to spend up to a week in the country — 3 days in Vientiane, and 3 days …

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Up the Mekong River – in Laos

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  2 Comments

Through a Lonely Planet recommendation, I went on a White Elephant Adventures tour that took me on a one day kayak ride down the Mekong River, where the group could visit a local village, ride on elephants, and/or go on zip lines through the forest. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Lao tours. …

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Welcome to Luang Prabang

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  2 Comments

As my plane left Cambodia and flew over to Laos, I noticed immediately how green and gorgeous the Laos countryside is. Unlike Siem Reap which is mostly flat and covered in dry, golden farmland, Laos is lush with rolling dark green mountains, with small, quaint farmlands wrapping rows of crops around the curves of the …

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Cambodia Today – And A Bit of History

Posted January 15, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

Much of my time during the trip was spent with Try. Unlike my other trips where I bounce from place to place meeting different people, Try was my travel companion for the entire trip. As he told Darrel, he made sure to give me “the comfortable service” during my stay in Siem Reap. I learned …

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The Temples of Angkor and a House Party – Day 2

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  1 Comment

On New Years Day, I spent the morning going back to the temples – this time, to the famous “lady temple” of Bantrey Sray. I found out that it’s not really a temple honoring women – after all, it has a huge linga (phallic symbol) at the heart of the temple – but because they …

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Cambodia: The Temples of Angkor and NYE

Posted   /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

My trip to Cambodia was the first and only border crossing that I did on foot. After a 4-hour bus ride that included a loud group that having a family reunion throughout Southeast Asia (I stereotyped them as LA Persians in my head until I asked them and found out that they were indeed from …

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A Monk’s Life in Thailand (part 2)

Posted January 14, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  1 Comment

My days at the monastery always started around 5:30 am. On my second day, I went to the kitchen and helped out with food preparation, chopping ginger and peeling garlic cloves with a knife. Early morning mindfulness practices in themselves. The kitchen staff were really sweet to me, giving me Thai jook and chunks of …

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A Monk’s Life (in the forest monastery) – Pt. 1

Posted January 8, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

The schedule around Wat Pah Sunan goes like this almost every day: 2:45 AM — Wake up 3:15 AM — Meditate 4:00 AM — Chanting 5:30 AM — Monks go get alms while other folks volunteer in the kitchen or help clean up 7:30 AM — Serve food to the monks 8:00 AM — All …

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The Kanchanaburi Trek to Wat Pah Sunan

Posted January 6, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

The visit to Wat Pah Sunan almost didn’t happen. Not because of the crazy multiple modes of transportation situation that I had to navigate, but because I had to take a shit real bad on the bus ride there. When I tried to tell the driver he just waved me off, thinking that I was  …

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Traveling Bolo: The Challenges

Posted January 5, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

So far, travel from Vietnam to Thailand has been pretty smooth. I’ve asked around and have gotten decent advice from a lot of people. Google is also my friend; I have spent many, many hours at the beginning of my trip trying to figure out how to get from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia …

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Koh Samui Redemption

Posted January 2, 2012  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

Ok, so I think I’ve been a little bit of a hater on Koh Samui, when it’s really not that bad. In fact it’s probably actually very nice. Yea, most of the tourists are not my style, but with your own crew of folks, it would be great. The beaches would probably be lovely on …

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Tourists Gone Wild: The Christmas Full Moon Party on Koh Samui

Posted December 31, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

So a certain friend of mine, TKO, recommended that I go to the Full Moon Party that Koh Samui is famous for — there happened to be one on Christmas night. I told him that I’m not a raver anymore — he replied that he isn’t either but went anyway, and that I had to …

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Koh Samui: Trains and Tourist Trappin’ It

Posted December 25, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  2 Comments

After Chiang Mai, I dreaded taking the 13+ hour overnight train ride back to Bangkok. But it ended up being pretty decent. The chairs reclined, they gave us blankets, and we got FREE bomb-ass Thai food for late dinner and breakfast! And I got some sleep. Not bad. After returning to Bangkok just to take …

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Chiang Mai: Trekking and Temples

Posted December 24, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

The hardest parts about traveling in Thailand is: 1) it’s HELLLLA touristy (I see why Phatty didn’t want to come back here) and, 2) folks here rip tourists off all over the place. It’s hard to have a good time knowing that you might pay double for a tour, or might be taken somewhere that …

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The Sleeper Train to Chiang Mai

Posted December 22, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

The day I left for Chiang Mai was a bit of a wasted day. The area around me was HELLLLLAAA touristy. Everywhere I went, old white men and young Thai girls were walking hand-and-hand down the street. It’s really a sad sight to see. I took a few sneak pictures of some of the couples …

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Khao San Road to Sukhumvit

Posted December 20, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

So yes, for my first night in Bangkok, I made the mistake of booking a spot near Khao San Rd., the biggest tourist trap in the city. I read in Lonely Planet that a lot of backpackers go there to lodge (some do – mostly fake, wanna-be hippies), so I was hella surprised to show …

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Day 4: Travel Day: Da Lat > Saigon > Bangkok

Posted December 18, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  0 Comments

Since one of my goals on this (very short) month long trip was to do a little soul searching, I decided to take off by myself and travel bolo for the rest of my trip (for the most part). I left Dario in Da Lat Friday morning to catch a bus back to Saigon. It’s …

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Running around Da Lat

Posted December 16, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  1 Comment

Even though it had only been a day, Dario was pretty much done with Saigon. The insane traffic, congestion, and humidity of the city inspired him to travel up north to Da Lat to find calmer, more intimate surroundings and more mild weather. I was game since I’ll be coming back to Saigon in January …

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The First 24 Hours: SF to Saigon

Posted December 14, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  1 Comment

I can’t believe I’m here. After the 11 hour plane ride to Tokyo and the 6 hour plane ride to Ho Chi Minh City, I finally got my ass off a plane, learned how to get a visa, and took a taxi down to the hostel (Madame Cuc 127) that Dario’s been staying at so we could …

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Posted December 12, 2011  /   By Tiffany  /  1 Comment

Dec 12 Leave SFO Dec 13 Flight Day Dec 14 Arrive HCMC Dec 15 HCMC Dec 16 Go to Nha Trang Dec 17 Nha Trang Dec 18 Fly to Bangkok Dec 19 Bangkok Dec 20 Bangkok Dec 21 Siem Reap Dec 22 Siem Reap Dec 23 Bangkok Dec 24 Train to south of Thailand Dec …

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