Why I Fell In Love With Amsterdam

Amsterdam had always been at the top of my bucket list of places I wanted to visit… I finally made it happen last year and it was everything I imagined it would be and more.

Amsterdam is absolutely beautiful. The pictures that you see on the internet… it really is that breathtaking.

The flower markets, the canals, the cute little buildings everywhere… how can you not fall in love with Amsterdam?

Where to stay: Hotel Asterisk – I loved the hotel that I stayed at… the room was pretty small (European hotels are usually very small, so it was expected) but cozy and had everything that I needed. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. But the best part, was the location. It is near many restaurants, bars, shopping… about a 10 minute walk to the Heineken Brewery and many other attractions. The museum quarter is also close.

They also gave me a cute gift when I checked out. I remember and appreciate the little things like this.☺️

asteriskhotel.nl

What to eat: Stroopwafel. O M G. Yum. These can be addicting… pair it with a delicious cup of coffee or latte and you’ll be hooked.

What to see: definitely check out the flower markets… you can pick up some cute souvenirs or just enjoy all of the beautiful tulips and other cute trinkets.

~ if you like visiting museums… there are some really great ones here in Amsterdam. The Van Gogh Museum can get busy so check to see if you can purchase tickets online first so you can get a good time slot. Otherwise the lines can get long. https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en

What to do: Anne Frank’s house, in my opinion, is an absolute must. They only sell a limited amount of tickets per day, so make sure to book that way in advance. https://www.annefrank.org/en/museum/tickets/

Writing about Amsterdam is making me want to go back! I hope you will fall in love just as much as I did with this beautiful city.

Happy traveling! (Dag! ~ “good day!”)

How To Spend Two Days in Belgium

I really wish I had spent a few more days in Belgium… because as soon as I got there, I just fell in love with the country. Everything is so beautiful and everyone is so friendly and nice.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to spend more than a few days here because I was on a tight time crunch for the rest of my Europe journey. But nonetheless, I still had an amazing time in Belgium!

If you’re short on time as well… I have made a list of things that are MUST Do’s.

Note: I stayed in the City Center area… which was close to shopping, many restaurants, bars, the train station… etc.

The hotel I stayed at: Hygge Hotel ( hyggehotel.be )- I highly recommend this hotel! It wasn’t cheap but definitely was on the lower price range of hotels in Europe… (hotels in Europe can be very expensive) It is also bigger than most hotels as well. I’ve stayed in a bunch of hotels in Europe that were the size of closets and were $100+ a night. This hotel had large private bathrooms, spacious rooms with large beds and beautiful windows all around to view the city. I LOVED this hotel. It was one of my favorites on my European trip last year.


Note: This post contains some affiliate links. Just so you know, if you use the links to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission or compensation from the links on this page… but at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support!


Walk around Avenue Louise – This is a lively neighborhood close to the city center. There are tons of bars and restaurants that line the streets. It’s about 10 minutes from the main train station.

Check out the Ferris Wheel at Place Poelaert – Take a stroll around here and the streets at Place Poelaert.

Go to the Place Royale – I woke up super early one morning… and headed out in hopes of capturing some beautiful photos without anyone in them. Success. I got so many amazing photos of the Grand Palace with no one in them! It was also so beautiful to the see sun rising and the early morning fog around the beautiful buildings. Located in the Main Square, it is very easy to find.

Mannekin Pis – It will be crowded with other tourists… but I believe it is a must when visiting Brussels. They change the statues’ clothes every so often… it’s so cute!

Atomium – Years ago I was watching The Amazing Race and they went here… Right then and there… I mentally put it in my list of places to go to. I never forgot. I just HAD to come here on my trip to Brussels. It was pretty cool! It gets crowded, so getting a photo without anyone in it might be a bit difficult.

Day trip to Ghent – This is a MUST. It’s a short train ride from Brussels to Ghent… and totally worth it. Ghent is so beautiful! It’s one of the cutest little towns I have ever seen. I wanted to stay there all day but… I had to get back to Belgium. But it definitely is at least a half day trip. You must visit the castle that is there. It is called Gravensteen Castle and is about a 30 minute walk from the train station. The castle dates back to 1180 and was the residence of the Counts of Flanders until 1353. It was re-purposed as a court, prison, mint, and even as a cotton factory. It was restored over 1893-1903 and is now a museum and a major landmark in the city. I walked there to see all of the other beautiful building around the town… but you can take a bus/tram to get there as well.

Sant Nicholas’ Church – A beautiful, beautiful building that looked straight out of a movie. It sort of reminded me of Harry Potter World. Ha.

Eat mussels, frites and have an ice cold beer – After exploring the city for a whole day in the drizzling rain… sitting down to a big bowl of mussels and some delicious Belgian beer was a great way to end the day… any day! ~ Where to find great mussels: Le Marmiton / Beer suggestion: Grimbergen … YUM.

Musee d’Art Modern – The views here are amazing… go early so you can get some awesome photos with no one in them!

I hope you will enjoy Belgium as much as I did!

Happy traveling!

7 Things You Must Do In Hanoi, Vietnam

(writing this post Covid-19 quarantine) As people get excited to travel again… slowly but surely… I’ve been imagining, dreaming, planning, my next travels for awhile now…

If you’re ready to travel again soon too but you’re not sure where to… Vietnam was one of my favorite countries while I was traveling around Southeast Asia. It’s also one of the cheapest countries… so, if you’re on a budget, this is the perfect place!


Note: This post contains some affiliate links. Just so you know, if you use the links to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission or compensation from the links on this page… but at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support!


Vietnam is crazy, hectic, nothing like I’ve ever experienced or seen… but it’s amazing. The food is crazy cheap but oh so delicious… and the coffee, oh the coffee. Yum.

Go to Hoan Kiem Lake – A lake right in the middle of the busy city. There’s a beautiful red bridge and the Ngoc Son Temple. Take a relaxing stroll around the lake and take in all of the beautiful sights. There’s also a pagoda right in the center of the lake.


Hanoi’s French Quarter – The history of Vietnam is pretty interesting… and if you didn’t really know about it, you’d be surprised to see things that you would imagine seeing in Europe. That is, because the French ruled Vietnam up until 1954. There are many buildings and foods that Vietnam still has that was influenced by the French. This area is quite beautiful to see, but you won’t feel like you’re in Asia.


St. Joseph’s Cathedral – The Notre Dame of Hanoi… that’s exactly what it looks like. Located in the Hoan Kiem District or the Old Quarter… it’s easy to find and you’ll be glad to say that you saw the Notre Dame of Asia. Ha.


Hanoi Old Quarter – Another great area of the city… here, you can find cheap beers, hectic markets, and delicious street food.


Try Egg Coffee – if you love coffee… you must try this at least once! I LOVE coffee. I had read about this and I just knew I had to try it… I also was on a mission to find the BEST egg coffee in the city and I definitely did. They have egg coffees all around the city, but I read that this was the best place in town.. Cafe Giang.


Go to Huong Lien – There’s a place in Hanoi that our former president, Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain dined at together. I have always loved and admired Bourdain… when I watched that episode, I put it on my list of places I HAD to go to. I had read that there could be really long lines and you’d have to wait forever to get a table… But the day that I went, I got lucky. There wasn’t a line and I sat down right away. They have the table and chairs that Obama and Bourdain sat at encased in a display case. There are many photos of them all around the restaurant. Not only was it cool to go to a place where they had gone… but the food was delicious as well! Order the “Obama Combo”. Trust me.


Eat a Banh Mi – I love Vietnamese food… banh mi is one of my favorites. I did a lot of research to the find the best banh mi in Hanoi… definitely try this place if you get a chance!

Happy traveling!

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

The first time I saw a picture of Neuschwanstein Castle, I mentally put it on my bucket list of castles to see. (Yes, I have a bucket list of just castles I want to visit😛) I’m so glad I did because it was absolutely magical.


Note: This post contains some affiliate links. Just so you know, if you use the links to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission or compensation from the links on this page… but at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support!


I set a day aside to visit the castle when I was in Munich. It’s a fairly short train ride away from the city… about 1 hour and 40 minutes. I suggest leaving early in the morning. There can be a lot of people and the lines to buy tickets can be long! If you just want to see the castle from the outside, you do not need to purchase tickets, but if you want to take the tour, you will have to purchase tickets. You can purchase for just 1, 2 or all 3 castles in the area. Since, I didn’t have enough time because I wanted to be back in Munich for Oktoberfest in the evening, I just purchased a ticket for just one of the tours.

You can see another castle you can visit on the top left.

Views from the bottom. Near the ticket center.

I went in October, the weather was gloomy and rainy… there were still a lot of people but not as much as there would be in the busier seasons. From the train station, you have to purchase another ticket for the bus to take you up to the entrance. From there, it is about a 30 minute walk, mostly uphill to get to the castle. You can also pay to ride a horse carriage up but it’s not too bad of a walk up and it’s nice to get some exercise in! Once you reach the castle, you can walk further up to the bridge where you can get some amazing views of the castle from afar. Definitely suggest going to this bridge to get some awesome photos.

Bridge across from Neuschwanstein Castle.

Make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Higher up and closer to the castle, it was a bit chilly with the rain as well. There are little shops and cafes right by the castle where you can get some snacks, coffee and warm up with some hot chocolate. Large bags and backpacks are prohibited, so make sure you leave those at your hotel or they do have lockers nearby for a small fee.

Amazing views from the top!

If you choose to take the tours of the castles, when you purchase your tickets, you’re given a designated time slot for the tour. Make sure you’re there 10 minutes earlier so you don’t miss your group. I really enjoyed the tour of the castle and it was well worth the extra money. The history of Neuschwanstein Castle is really interesting. The decor and paintings inside are beautiful! Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos of inside of the castle.

Model of the castle.

I left around 8 in the morning and arrived back in Munich around 4pm. So, I would definitely say it is at least a half day trip.

If you’re in Munich, definitely set some time aside to visit Neuschwanstein Castle!

Happy traveling!

Angkor Wat. A Must?

Angkor Wat. A place that has been on my bucket list for the longest time. But, as with many destinations these days… tourists have overrun and ruined many beautiful places.

It wasn’t an exclusion for Angkor Wat… I thought waking up at 3:30am and heading out before the crack of dawn, would let me see and explore Angkor Wat before everyone else. But I was very wrong.

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It is located in Siem Reap, Cambodia and is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple dates back to the 12th century and was part of the Khmer Empire. (Okay enough of this history lesson…😛google the rest!)

My tuk tuk picked me up at 4:30am sharp. It was still pitch black dark outside. It was actually quite chilly as well. I’m glad I had brought my sweater… the ride on the tuk tuk to Angkor was freezing. I arrived at the ticket place at around 5am. I was actually first in line for the 1-day admission tickets. (You can purchase 1, 2 and 3 day passes) The line for the 3-day pass was the longest. I would recommend getting the 2-day pass. One day at Angkor is too short but three days may be too much. Well, depending on how much time you have in Siem Reap… you decide how much time you want to spend exploring Angkor.

I didn’t know that Angkor was that big! Angkor is literally a whole village. On the map, it looks as if Angkor is half of the city of Siem Reap. No wonder they sell 3-day passes.

I got to Angkor Wat, the most famous of the temples, at around 5:15am. My tuk tuk driver dropped me off and told me to meet back where he had dropped me in 3 hours. (You can discuss times with your driver) It was still too dark to see anything. People were using their flashlights on their phones to see where they were walking. I followed a small crowd for about a 15 minute walk. We reached some water, which looked to be a small pond. I could finally see a little orange from the sun sneaking up. I could see the outline of the beautiful architecture that was Angkor Wat. After about 10 minutes, the sun filled the dark sky with a little more light. After I snapped out of the initial awe of the sunrise… I looked around and saw hundreds of people all gathered in front of the pond. I’m not joking, there were hundreds and hundreds of people there! I read somewhere before that this was to be expected… but I didn’t believe that there would be THAT many people at 5am!All of these people gathered around at 5am!

Beautiful sunrise at Angkor Wat.

Now, I’ll keep my actual review short and sweet.

Are there a lot of tourists at Angkor? – YES.

Will it be difficult to get some photos? – Yes, at the really popular places. (i.e. Tomb Raider temple – Ta Prohm) it was impossible to get a photo of the famous tree in the movie without anyone in it.☹️ BUT, you can also get some really amazing photos if you venture away from the “Instagram” famous spots.

Tomb Raider temple. Sooooooo many people!

Is it worth it to go? YES! Even though, it IS extremely packed with tourists… it was one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing places I’ve ever been to. I had an amazing time exploring all of the temples.

Tip: Walk around the sides or back of places… get away from huge crowds and you can find some beautiful places to snap some photos with NO ONE in it!

A few more add ons to help you if you plan on visiting Angkor…

I got the one day pass and started my day at Angkor Wat at around 5:15am. I left Angkor Wat at around 8am. Then made my way to the next temple. I can’t remember the names of all of the temples I visited… (sorry!) but the ones I do remember are Ta Prohm, Bayon, Ta Som and Banteay. After a few hours, I was really tired and hot… that’s why you cannot see all of Angkor in one or even two days. You have to walk A LOT. I got back to my hotel at around noon. Thank goodness for late check out… I needed some time to recuperate before my flight that night.

All in all…. Angkor is extremely touristy. But, it is definitely worth a visit.

I’d actually love to go back one day.☺️

Why Singapore Is A Must!

Singapore is tied with Iceland for my favorite countries so far! I always dreamed of going to Singapore since I was a teenager and I finally made it happen not too long ago! I completely fell in love with the country. The food, the architecture, the people, everything.

I know I say this a lot… but Singapore HAS TO BE ON EVERYONE’S BUCKETLIST. It is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. Everything seems straight out of a movie.

These are some of my reasons why Singapore is a MUST!

  • Gardens by the Bay (Flower Dome, Supertrees Grove, Cloud Forest) – I didn’t realize how big Gardens by the Bay was and definitely didn’t plan accordingly. I can honestly say that you can easily spend a WHOLE DAY here. There is so much to see and you should see everything. The only downside is that you have to buy tickets for everything. Oh, did I mention Singapore is quite expensive? But totally worth it. Take my money! I highly suggest seeing the Supertrees Grove both in the day and at night. In the day it is absolutely beautiful, you can get some amazing photos here. But at night, it looks like you are somewhere straight out of the movie Avatar! Music plays while the lights twinkle… it is the most amazing thing and experience. [ The light shows are at 7:45pm and 8:45pm daily ] You can see some beautiful flowers and plants inside of the Flower Dome… they change the theme every so often too. It is absolutely beautiful. You must also visit the Cloud Forest… here you can witness the highest indoor waterfall in the world!
Supertrees Grove
Cloud Forest
Flower Dome
  • Marina Bay Sands – Although, most people won’t be able to actually sleep here… including myself…😑) because it is ridiculously expensive) You can still check out the shops, restaurants and walk around the hotel. The views right outside of the Marina Bay Sands are spectacular as well.
Marina Bay Sands
  • FOOD! – Singapore is a melting pot of Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisines. You don’t have to spend a lot to get some amazing food as well. I recommend checking out the food markets. The best one is the Maxwell Hawker Stall… Here, you can find the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice. Might I add, Anthony Bourdain also ate here and his picture is right on the wall. (Also try curry laksa! Delicious!)
Chicken Rice
  • Universal Studios Singapore – I am still a kid at heart… I love amusement parks! I had THE best time here.
  • Boat Quay/Clarke Quay – Walk around Clarke Quay in the day and also at night. Beautiful new skyscrapers line the city skies. The views here are spectacular and there are a lot of bars and restaurants to grab a delicious bite!
  • Little India – Here you can find the cutest buildings that are painted in an array of colors. You can get some awesome photos here!

  • Chinatown – Singapore’s Chinatown is beautiful. You can find some awesome instagrammable photo opportunities here. You can also find the best hawker food stalls around Chinatown as well!
Chinatown
  • Kampong Glam – Beautiful little area to walk around… grab a bite and do some shopping.
  • Singapore Changi Airport – The airport? I know what you’re thinking… who wants to spend more time than they need to at the airport? What we usually dread when we have to deal with flight delays or cancellations… if I have to be stuck at any airport, I would love it to be Changi Airport! I would willingly go there and hang out. I would suggest… on your last day… leaving early to the airport so that you can explore! There’s a reason why Changi Airport is rated the number one airport in the world! It has EVERYTHING you can imagine… at say… an amusement park??! HA. There are beautiful gardens… butterfly gardens, flower gardens… There’s even a waterfall! The best airport in the world!

I hope that everyone can see and experience Singapore for themselves. It is truly an amazing country!

Happy traveling!

Ultimate Guide to Thailand

Thailand. Oh, Thailand. I love, love, love Thailand. You can say I may be a little bias, because I lived there for a year… but it really is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. With some of the nicest and friendliest people and some of the most amazing food! From beautiful lush, green mountains, to amazing skyscrapers to gorgeous clear blue waters… you can see everything in Thailand.

Thailand isn’t meant to be seen in a few days… there’s just way too much to see and do. If you have the time… I would suggest at least 2 weeks in Thailand alone. Here, I have come up with the ultimate guide to spend the most incredible 2 weeks in ‘The Land of Smiles’.😊

First stop: CHIANG MAI

Fly into Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand. It is situated right next to many beautiful green mountains. Here, you can find many hiking trails and amazing waterfalls. Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand but it doesn’t feel that way. The people here are the nicest and extremely laid back. The street food is amazing. On Saturday and Sunday, they have the largest open markets that line all of the streets with some of the most delicious foods and cutest souvenirs. Everything is extremely cheap! And, of course you can haggle and get great bargains. Must try dish in Chiang Mai… Khao Soi. Usually only found in Northern Thailand, khao soi is a delicious yellow curry noodle soup with chicken. It’s so good! YUMMM. Go on a river boat cruise at night along the Ping River. Dinner and a cruise was about $20-30! Super cheap if you ask me.

(check out my blog post on what other things to do in Chiang Mai here:)

https://jjennietravels.com/2018/02/20/7-free-or-fairly-cheap-things-to-do-in-chiang-mai/

Doi Inthanon National Park located in Northern Thailand

Next stop: BANGKOK

Bangkok is a must. It’s the largest city in Thailand. A completely different vibe from Chiang Mai. The skies are filled with beautiful tall skyscrapers and no laid back vibe here… It’s a busy city with people always on the go. Definitely check out the Lebua Skybar (seen in The Hangover 2). Completely overpriced drinks but the views are to die for. Just get one cocktail! The Grand Palace is also on the list BUT be warned… it gets CROWDED. I have to admit that I actually left early because the overcrowding got to me. But if you can tough it out… it’s worth seeing. Chatuchak is the biggest outdoor market I have ever seen in all of my travels! Supposedly it has over 15,000 stalls. I can’t even imagine how that can be possible… but I guess it is! They sell everthing here… you name it, they’ve got it. WARNING though, there is a section, where they sell animals… ALL different kinds of animals as well. They’re locked in small little cages, living in not so good conditions. Seeing all of these animals broke my heart… I suggest not going to this area of the market.

The Grand Palace, temple in Bangkok
Lebua Skybar in Bangkok

LAST STOP: PHUKET and THE ISLANDS

Of course you have to see the beautiful blue waters of the Thailand islands. The water IS really that clear and blue from the pictures that you see on the internet! Maya Bay is where they shot the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s only an hour or so boat ride from Phuket. The water is clear, warm and absolutely beautiful. Along the way to Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands… you can also see Monkey Island, where a bunch of monkeys live. They’re really cute but they also really scare me.

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands

Thailand is for sure a must. It should be on everyone’s bucket list. This country holds a very special place in my heart and I want to share it with others. I hope this sparks a little interest in the country for anyone reading this. You will fall in love with it too. I guarantee it.☺️✌🏽♥️

Happy travels!

Portland In Two Days

I recently took a spontaneous trip out to Portland because well, I just thought “why not?” I had never been and it is just a short two hour plane ride from Vegas. I also used my credit card points and didn’t pay a single dollar for the flights! (will be writing a post soon about what credit cards are the best for travel rewards!)

Anyway, I had a really great time in Portland, even though it was a very short trip. I had about two days there and definitely made the most out of it!

First, I suggest staying in or around downtown Portland. There’s so much to see and do there that you can easily walk around… which can save a lot on transportation costs. Although the tram system there is AMAZING!… and also very cheap!

I stayed at the Hoxton Portland which is located in Old Town/Chinatown. From the airport, I took the tram, which only cost $2.50 and about a 30 minute ride to Chinatown. From the Chinatown stop, it was less than a 10 minute walk to my hotel.

Once I got to my hotel and checked in, it was about noon. I walked around and found a cute pho place… it definitely hit the spot with the gloomy, rainy weather. After I ate lunch, I made my way to the famous Portland White Stag Sign. Located right in downtown, across the street from the Japanese American Historical Plaza. Also, from the Japanese American Historical Plaza, you can look over onto the Willamette River… beautiful views!

Then, OF COURSE, I made my way over to Voodoo Doughnuts. I’ve heard and seen so much of this doughnut shop on different travel and food shows. I wanted to see what the hype was about. And, yes, to my surprise… the doughnuts were REALLY good. The specialty ones are a little pricey but definitely worth trying one or two, or three. 😉 I had the guava colada and the vicious hibiscus. Yummm. Voodoo Doughnuts is only about a 5 minute walk from The Hoxton!

Right across the street from Voodoo Doughnuts is the infamous ‘Keep Portland Weird Sign’. A photo is a must here.

You HAVE to check out Powell’s Book Store when visiting Portland. I didn’t expect it to be so big! They have every and any genre of book you could think of! I probably spent about an hour or so there. I wanted to buy a ton of books… but I stopped myself and left with just one.😬

There’s also a lot of cool, random art all around Portland. I saw this one on my way to Powell’s.

Pearl District is a cool area with a ton of shops and restaurants. I had to stop by Deschutes Brewery and sample some of their beers. Get the tasting trays… you get to try 6 different beers. I really liked the Da Shootz! Pilsner.

For dinner, I went to Zapapizza. Really good pizza! And it was only a 2 minute walk from my hotel. It was raining so I didn’t want to walk too far… glad I found this spot.

DAY 2:

The main reason I wanted to go to Portland was to see the Multnomah Falls! The easiest and cheapest way to get there is to first take the tram to the Gateway Transit Center, from there you can take a shuttle to the falls. It is only $10 roundtrip! You can see the times here:

Columbia Gorge Express

I spent almost 2 hours at the falls. It is COLD, so be prepared. (I went in January) It was also raining when I went but it was totally worth being cold and wet. This waterfall is one of the most amazing ones I have seen… and I have seen a lot of waterfalls. You can also hike up the mountains with designated trails. I hiked a little up but it got really cold. I definitely wasn’t dressed properly. So, if you want to hike all the way up, make sure you’re layered up and warm.

Once I made my way back to Portland, it was raining heavily… I decided to grab lunch at Pioneer Place, a huge mall downtown. I got some lunch at Bridge City Cafe, they have really good soups and sandwiches. There’s so many shops that sell unique and quirky souvenirs… you can easily spend a few hours just wandering about.

So, I LOVE coffee. You could probably say I’m addicted. So, of course, I had to check out Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I really liked the decor inside and the vibe was really cool. You can definitely feel that hipster vibe.

I would’ve loved to stay an extra day… but even with a short amount of time, I think I really got a feel of what Portland is about. Portland is a little ‘weird’ but very lovely.😉♥️

Exploring Myanmar

I decided to travel to Myanmar while I was living in Thailand. It’s only a few hour flight from Chiang Mai, so I made it a weekend trip. Surprisingly, many people haven’t heard of Myanmar and many people who have, wouldn’t think of even going there. Formally known as Burma, Myanmar is a beautiful country but one of the most underdeveloped countries
I have been to so far.

I want to be honest in my experience… but I also don’t want to scare you away from visiting Myanmar. I believe that we should travel to all different kinds of countries… so that we can understand and appreciate how others live… their culture, their livelihood, etc.

First, the plane from Chiang Mai to Bagan was the smallest plane I have ever been on. When we landed, the airport was tiny and wasn’t busy at all, like most airports are. No hustle and bustle.

The people were all very friendly. The roads are all dirt roads… I didn’t see any proper street lights on the roads in Bagan. Bagan is less developed than the city Mandalay. But Bagan is a must… if you want to see all of the beautiful temples and pagodas!

My hotel in Bagan was in the middle of some dirt roads, which made it a little hard to find at night! The power went out one day for about 8 hours… NO hot water, no electricity, NO AC! (Myanmar is very hot and humid) But I survived… I welcome these experiences because it makes for a great story! HA. But also… (as cheesy as this sounds…) made me appreciate my life and everything that we take for granted, especially in the US.

Be prepared to say “no” A LOT. There are vendors everywhere and many times… women, children and even men run up to you to try to sell you everything from umbrellas, snacks to jewelry. If you buy one thing from one person… you’ll have 10 more people running up to you. I wanted to buy everything because I felt so bad but that would be impossible.

There is absolutely no shortage of beautiful temples in Myanmar. Tip: climb on top of one of the many temples in Bagan and wait for sunset. One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever experienced in my life.

You can easily rent a motor bike to get around or you can also hire a driver, if you feel less confident riding a motor bike or just want to get around more comfortably.

Myanmar is very cheap. You can get a decent hotel for less than $20 a night and meals cost around $1-2!… and they are so DELICIOUS!

Some places you must visit:

  1. Atumashi Monastery – located in Mandalay.
  2. U Bein Bridge – (Mandalay) you can catch an amazing sunset here as well.
  3. Hsinbyume Pagoda – (Mandalay)
  4. Sagaing – (Mandalay) – the views here were AMAZING. You can see all of the beautiful greenery and temples that Myanmar has to offer.
  5. Mandalay Royal Palace – (Mandalay) A MUST!
  6. Kuthodaw Pagoda – (Mandalay) – beautiful white structures make for a beautiful place to capture some photos.
Atumashi Monastery
U Bein Bridge
Hsinbyume Pagoda
Sagaing, Mandalay
Mandalay Royal Palace
Kuthodaw Pagoda

I hope this opens up your mind to experience or at least give it a thought to visit other countries… some that are less developed and put yourself out of your comfort zone.

Happy traveling!

My Journey To 35 Before 35

I’m writing this exactly 4 years later since my real travel journey began. For my 30th birthday, I bought myself a plane ticket to Ireland… that was my first solo trip and since then, I haven’t stopped. I set this goal of mine to travel to 35 countries before I turn 35.

4 years later and 26 countries added to my list. I am at 30 countries… I have 5 more countries to visit and one more year. I can’t say this goal has been easy. But it sure has been absolutely amazing. I’ve unfortunately quit a lot of things in my life… I have trouble committing to anything… that’s why this has been so meaningful to me. I am determined to successfully complete this goal.

To everyone… my friends and family… even strangers that have followed along on this journey of mine. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. All of the encouraging words, messages and support never went unnoticed. I am extremely grateful for each and every one of you.

And to my dad… who is quite possibly my biggest supporter. Thank you for always pushing me to just go. Thank you for teaching me to not be afraid and to always be tough and stick up for myself in this crazy world. Thank you for having the mentality that girls should learn everything and be able to do everything that boys do. Thank you, dad. Without you I’m not sure I would’ve been able to do this.

For anyone feeling like you want to travel more… but for whatever reason, you keep putting it on hold… Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Just GO. I never thought I could actually do this… But, here I am doing it.

Go. See the world and be brave. You got this.