Traveling through Asia, when it came to accommodations, I was no stranger to variety. One night, I’d be in a bustling backpacker hostel, the next a $3 per night shack with no electricity, and the next a luxurious five-star hotel. Reflecting on the trip now, I can safely say that getting a taste of all types of travel was one of my favorite aspects of the journey.
Dining at the Sherwood Taipei’s Yi Yuan Chinese Restaurant
Needless to say, however, the “treat yo self” nights stood out quite a bit. And, of those nights, the Sherwood Taipei was particularly unforgettable. I recently wrote about my experience at the five-star hotel in Taiwan’s capital, but the wining and dining there was so memorable it deserved a post of its own.
When you imagine a century-old travel guidebook about Spain, you’d expect a cornucopia of picturesque descriptions of the scenery and fascinating explanations of bygone customs. After all, isn’t a travel guide supposed to feature the unmissable highlights a destination has to offer? But in the 1913 Baedeker guide to Spain and Portugal, you’ll find everything but that.
The loveliest of lovely, España…or is it?
When a friend referred me to a link he had stumbled upon, the full text of this early twentieth century travel guidebook, I stopped everything I was doing to read it, drooling at the thought of a romantically nostalgic perspective on a country I love so deeply… Only to find it was definitely not what I expected.
Studying abroad in Spain, it’s hard not to fall in love with the country. Just as I did, hundreds of students who left their hearts in Spain during college return post-graduation to work as English teaching assistants, thanks to the auxiliares de conversación (or North American Language and Culture Assistants) program. Being back in amazing España is a dream come true, but how does life as an English teacher compare to the study abroad life? If you’re returning to Spain as an auxiliar de conversación, here are a few differences and similarities to expect.
With my first graders in my first year as an auxiliar
My time in Taipei was all too short, with only four full days to explore Taiwan’s capital. But I made the most of my limited time there, seeing the city’s famed monuments, escaping Taipei to explore some more rural areas, and experiencing three accommodations. Arriving late the first night, I checked into a hostel, which was pristine yet antisocial, a vast change from the other hostels I’ve experienced in Southest Asia. From there, I headed to the Taipei Marriott for two nights, which I reviewed in this post, and, finally, I wrapped up my Taiwanese adventure with a night at the Sherwood Taipei.
The Sherwood Taipei’s Yi Yuan Chinese Restaurant
If there’s one thing most visitors to Malaysia rave about after visiting, it’s the food. My first few days in Kuala Lumpur demonstrated just why, and an evening of tasting the local cuisine with Food Tour Malaysia had stood out as one of the best experiences I’d had in my five weeks of traveling so far. But my taste buds were just getting started, and I was in luck. From Kuala Lumpur, I was heading several hours north to a state that has a reputation for being an absolute food paradise, Penang.
Colonial George Town, Penang
If there’s one thing you’ll see everywhere you go in Southeast Asia, it’s motorbikes. Playing Frogger in Saigon, hopping on UberMOTOs to navigate Bangkok, weaving through the Burmese countryside on a bike… As of a few years ago, Cambodia had nearly two million motorcycles for a population of just fifteen million. This transportation is a way of life in that part of the world, so how fitting is it to explore the region on a stylish Vespa? I had the chance to do just that on a Phnom Penh nightlife tour.
Phnom Penh by Vespa (photo courtesy of Vespa Adventures)
Having just opened in October 2015, the five-star Taipei Marriott is a new star on Taipei’s hotel scene. I had the chance to call it home for two nights during my visit to Taiwan in April, and the hotel is already off to a shining start. Walk into the Marriott’s stylishly gorgeous lobby, and you’ll be in awe straight away. But that’s only just the beginning.
Feeling right at home at the Taipei Marriott
Eighty days and eight countries later, my Southeast Asia trip has come to an end. I fly to Japan tomorrow and then onward to Paris, with a day in Abu Dhabi in between. For a part of the world I had never given much thought to until the last few years, Southeast Asia has stolen my heart. My next destinations will certainly be a massive change of scenery, so I thought I’d reflect on some of the things I will and won’t miss about Southeast Asia.
Sitting atop a pagoda, watching a storm roll in over Bagan, Myanmar earlier this week