Adventures

Photo Diary: A Spontaneous Trip to Hong Kong (2018)

Towards the end of 2018, I began to feel incredibly burnt out and decided that I needed a mini getaway. Being in Australia means that I am too far to dash off to Europe or the US, but it also means being very close to Asia. I've been to Hong Kong before (well, technically anyway), but that was only for a stopover and I never had the chance to actually see the city. When I saw that flights were on sale for Hong Kong, I thought, why not? A couple of weeks later, I became lost amongst the craziness of HK — whether it was the density of the buildings, hectic nature of the city or the humid (almost unbearable) weather. Below are some of my favourite snaps from my trip.

The Peak (Victoria Peak):  Being elevated well above the city was a crazy experience. It reminded me of being on top of the Empire State Building in NY.

The Peak (Victoria Peak): Being elevated well above the city was a crazy experience. It reminded me of being on top of the Empire State Building in NY.

The Peak (Victoria Peak):  The amazing thing about Hong Kong is that when you’re amongst it, it feels like pure madness, but when you retreat away to places like The Peak, you feel baffled by the beauty away from the hustle and bustle.

The Peak (Victoria Peak): The amazing thing about Hong Kong is that when you’re amongst it, it feels like pure madness, but when you retreat away to places like The Peak, you feel baffled by the beauty away from the hustle and bustle.

Ngong Ping Cable Car/Lantau Island:  Okay, so this one may be a bit of a tourist trap but how could I not go in this?! Though, I did get a bit motion sick on it…

Ngong Ping Cable Car/Lantau Island: Okay, so this one may be a bit of a tourist trap but how could I not go in this?! Though, I did get a bit motion sick on it…

Pizza Maru:  Because fried chicken and pizza is always a good idea.

Pizza Maru: Because fried chicken and pizza is always a good idea.

The Streets:  There isn’t a time of day in Hong Kong that isn’t crowded…but I absolutely loved the craziness of the city.

The Streets: There isn’t a time of day in Hong Kong that isn’t crowded…but I absolutely loved the craziness of the city.

That golden hour glow…hahaha

That golden hour glow…hahaha

Shek O:  Whilst I was researching all things Hong Kong, I found so many comments discussing the beauty of the beaches, and man was everyone right! If I was in town a little longer, I wish I could of explored all of Hong Kong’s beaches. Shek O is very easy to get to, and pretty much took one bus ride that cost a couple of dollars.

Shek O: Whilst I was researching all things Hong Kong, I found so many comments discussing the beauty of the beaches, and man was everyone right! If I was in town a little longer, I wish I could of explored all of Hong Kong’s beaches. Shek O is very easy to get to, and pretty much took one bus ride that cost a couple of dollars.

Shek O:  So, I wasn’t exactly prepared and didn’t pack swimwear, but I still got to dip my toes into this glorious water.

Shek O: So, I wasn’t exactly prepared and didn’t pack swimwear, but I still got to dip my toes into this glorious water.

Shek O:  Pure heaven.

Shek O: Pure heaven.

Shek O:  Well, I wasn’t not going to pose in front of the pretty pink wall haha.

Shek O: Well, I wasn’t not going to pose in front of the pretty pink wall haha.

My Guide To New York City

After approximately 27 hours of flying (and a stopover in Hong Kong), all my wildest dreams came true, and I was finally in New York City.

Living in Australia means most countries are well out of reach — it's the reason why Aussies are likely to travel to Asia (not that there's anything wrong with that, Asia is damn awesome). New York is approximately 17000km away from home, yet it couldn't feel more like home.

Below is my guide to the city that E. B. White once called "The Capital of the World".

Getting There: 
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, getting to NYC is a marathon effort. Though most Aussies go the Qantas route with a stopover in Los Angeles, I chose another way as I needed a round ticket that included return from Europe. I flew Cathay Pacific, with a short stopover in Hong Kong. 

Getting Around:
I didn't use the subway once the entire time I was in NYC, I know, crazy right? However, I did live off Uber. One afternoon, my phone died and the traffic was crazy, and I walked from Battery Park to Midtown, yes, I'm crazy, but it was a great workout.

Where to Stay:
I stayed in Midtown, which I regretted after 2 hours of being in NYC. Yes, Times Square is in a walkable distance, but so are the crowds and the noise. I recommend areas such as NoLita, East Village or Chelsea. Next time I go back, I will probably base myself in Brooklyn since I spent a lot of time there during my last trip.

Food:
I'm not going to lie; this is where most of my money went towards. Here's some of my favourite restaurants. 

Cafe MUD – 307 E 9th St, East Village (link)
The coffee is what dreams are made of, so is the brunch. It's been six months since I was there and I'm still craving their coffee beans. 

Atrium DUMBO - 15 Main St, Brooklyn (link)
This one was kind of pricey, I'm not going to lie, but it was so damn good.

One Girl Cookies - 33 Main St, Brooklyn (link)
These are some of the best cookies in town, coffee is meh, but them cookies, though.

OddFellows Ice Cream Co - 175 Kent Ave, Brooklyn (link)
I know it's in the name, but the flavours are truly odd, in the best possible way of course. Homemade ice cream always wins. 

Billy's Bakery - 184 9th Ave, Chelsea (link)
You can find cupcakes everywhere in NYC, but Billy's Bakery provides some yummy choices. 

Tourist Attractions:
Of course, there's the obvious one's that every tourist need to do. The Empire State Building was still once of my highlights, and even though I'm terrified of heights, it was truly beautiful. I highly recommend that you do this as early as possible, so you're not stuck in a queue. I went at 9 am, and it only took me around 15 min to get to the top.  Another landmark you can't miss is the Statue of Liberty. The ferry to Liberty Island is a lot of fun too. Honestly, I wasn't all that excited about seeing it, but once I caught a glimpse of the statue, I was in awe of its beauty. Climbing the Brooklyn Bridge is also a must, just be sure to bring some water for you. 

An attraction that is a hidden gem (especially if you're a booklover) is The Morgan Library & Museum. It's heaven. Not only is it the most beautiful library I've ever seen, but it also contains first edition Jane Austen and Walt Whitman, a Gutenberg Bible, and lots of other bookish treasures.

Central Park is a challenge and a little overwhelming. Saying that I was there in the middle of Summer so it was stinking hot and the last place I wanted to be in was a park. It was truly beautiful though.

The best thing about NYC is that there are things happening every day, so you don't need to limit yourself to the typical attractions. Always keep on the lookout for something that is going on. Some of my random highlights included seeing Beyonce at Citi Field, being front row in the audience at Steven Colbert, and a random improv show that was playing Off-Broadway.

Don't make the mistake of buying Broadway tickets before you hit NYC, enter lotteries or buy them discounted from the ticket box in Times Square — unless you're planning to see Hamilton, then prepare to sell a kidney on the black market to get a ticket.

Shopping:
For me, it was all about Strand Bookstore in East Village. It's without argument the best bookstore I've ever been to in my whole life. Strand is what bookstores should look like. I also thought Chelsea Market was incredible, especially if you love food. There is also a bookstore in the market called Posman Books. In there, I found a comic book about the Beat Generation, and I intend on loving it forever. 

As a whole (and it's probably a generalisation, apologies), I didn't find NYC Shop Assistants all that friendly, perhaps it's just the craziness of the city. Don't be too offended by it, I think it's the norm of the area.

Final words:
If you like busy and crazy, look no further than NYC. 

Check out some of my snaps below:

The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum

Views from the Empire State Building

Views from the Empire State Building

M&Ms World, Times Square

M&Ms World, Times Square

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

Times Square

Times Square

Strand Bookstore, East Village

Strand Bookstore, East Village

Tickets to  An Act of God

Tickets to An Act of God

Governors Ball Festival 2016, Randall's Island

Governors Ball Festival 2016, Randall's Island

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Cafe MUD, East Village

Cafe MUD, East Village

Iceland Photo Diary – 2016

Below are some of my favourite snaps from my trip to wonderful Iceland this year. Visiting Iceland was a dream come true and was the most magical place I've ever seen 

Downtown Reykjavik

Downtown Reykjavik

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park

Mýrdalsjökull glacier

Mýrdalsjökull glacier

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon

Reynisfjara shore

Reynisfjara shore

Reynisfjara shore

Reynisfjara shore

Reynisfjara shore

Reynisfjara shore

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park