From my travel journal: San Francisco, 2014

Just a quick one today, because I’ve been sick with the flu, and re-reading On The Road while I’ve been couch bound… Also just finished Wish You Were Here, and have a book review, interview with Sheridan and book giveaway coming next week!

From there, I quickly spotted the Beat Museum, then Jack Kerouac Alley in the other direction; Vesuvio Cafe, one of Kerouac’s favourite haunts, lives on the corner. Down the alley and welcome to Chinatown! Like all Chinatowns, it’s manic, full of smells, illegible signs, all that jazz.

Top 5 Things To Do in Bangkok

1. Shop up an absolute storm at Chatuchak Weekend Market
http://www.chatuchak.org/
Where? Chatuchak Market is adjacent to the Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT) about 5 minute walk from Mochit Skytrain (BTS) Station and Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) Station (MRT)
Why go? Spanning 27 acres, it’s one of the biggest markets in the world. The atmosphere is electric, the food is great, and if you can’t find something you want to buy, it doesn’t exist.
How long will you need? At least half a day
Cost? Depends how much you plan to buy – make sure you barter, though!
Read more:
– Through my eyes: Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market

 

2. Eat up a storm on Soi 38

Where? right near BTS stop: Thonglor
Why go? Because it’s street food heaven. They all congregate there and the smell of it all is magic.
How long will you need? An hour or two
Cost? You’ll be able to get a great meal for only a few dollars – the pork and noodle dish above cost under AUD$4.00!
Read more:
– Street food heaven: Soi 38, Bangkok, Thailand

 

3. Then, learn to cook for yourself at BaiPai Cooking 

http://www.baipai.com/
Where? 8/91 Ngam Wongwan Road, Soi 54, Ladyao, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900
Why go? To learn to cook! The classes are fantastic, very hands on, and come with full recipes for you to take home. And once you’re done cooking in the class, you get to sit down with your classmates and eat it all!
How long will you need? A few hours, depending on your class time:
Morning Class – 09:30 – 13:30
Afternoon Class – 13:30 – 17:30
Cost? THB 2,2200 per person (around AUD$80.00)
Read more:
– Baipai Cooking School, Bangkok, Thailand

 

4. Take a boat down the river to the Wat Pho Temple complex

Where? Maharat Road, near the river. Take the Chao Phraya River Express to the Tha Thien Pier – it’ll cost under a dollar.
Why go? Because Bangkok is a crazy city, and this is the most beautiful little piece of paradise you could possibly hope to escape to 🙂
How long will you need? Half a day
Cost? Entry is THB 100 per person (around AUD$3.80)
Read more:
– Through my eyes: Wat Pho Temple Complex, Bangkok (part 1)
– Through my eyes: Wat Pho Temple Complex, Bangkok (part 2)

 

5. Take a stop off at Chinatown on the boat ride back to the city

Where? Take the Chao Phraya River Express back towards the city and stop at the Ratchawong Pier. From there, walk up Ratchawong Road to Sampaeng Lane, and Yaowarat Road (Chinatown’s main street).
Why go? This is the ultimate antidote to the peace and tranquility in the temples. Chaos is an understatement, the shopping is heavy on tacky souvenirs, but the food is great and the atmosphere is insane in the best possible way!
How long will you need? Add another few hours to your half day at the Wat Pho Temple Complex
Cost? Depends on your shopping habits!
Read more:
– Through my eyes: Bangkok’s Chinatown, Thailand

 

Through my eyes: Chinatown, San Francisco

Ohh happy days – not only have we made it to Saturday morning, but we’ve also (if you’re from the same part of the world as me) made it to the start of a long weekend! God bless the Queen and happy birthday to her! This is gonna seem a random post, but for some reason, I often associate public holidays with Chinatown. Weird, right? Actually, not so much – I’ve found that generally, where ever I am in the world and what ever else is going on/which ever other establishments are closed for whatever reason, Chinatown is pretty much always open. Even on public holidays. You can still get a good plate of dumplings and a side of fortune cookies even when everyone else is taking the day off. So here’s to you, Chinatown, all over the globe!

I really do love a good Chinatown, and have heard so many times that the one in San Francisco is one of the best in the world. I also grew up watching Charmed, and remember watching so many scenes of the sisters in Chinatown buying various herbs and what not… I was excited to finally be going to visit!

One of the must-do things for your San Francisco Chinatown visit should be the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory on Ross Alley, where this photo was taken. They don’t allow any photographs in store (not without a small “donation,” anyway), but they are more than generous with free samples, and a bag of cookies to take with you won’t cost much – and you definitely want to take a bag home, because they’re delicious!

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Eat here: Yummy Yummy Dim Sum, San Francisco, USA

Yummy Yummy
758 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, USA

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Our first day in San Francisco was a pretty big one; Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Ghiradelli, Lombard Street.. There was a lot going on. Except for food.

We’d had a bit of a situation the night before at the airport, flying to the city from LAX, which necessitated dinner being a bag of Bugles just before boarding. Breaky was provided by the hotel and eaten on the run in transit to Alcatraz, and lunch was a quick seafood cocktail at Fisherman’s Wharf. Come dinner time, it was decided that a proper sit down meal was needed, and we figured the best place to find something delicious and at a decent price would be Chinatown – that’s always the place to check first in these situations!

We took the same approach we usually take – if it looks super busy with heaps of locals, it’s probably good. This place seemed pretty popular, and not another backpack or tourist in sight. Looked a bit sketchy from the outside, sure, but the food…

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For around USD$30 (including tip) we feasted on BBQ pork, pot stickers and the most insanely oversized pile of house fried noodles I have EVER seen in my life! Having unwittingly yet comfortable ordered enough food for 3, we nommed our way through some of the best Chinese either of us have had in a very long time. Oh, and we got complimentary fortune cookies at the end of the meal, too! Not sure how accurate mine was though..

Looks can be deceiving; if you’re in San Francisco and looking for something other than burgers and fries, hit up Yummy Yummy!

Through my eyes: Bangkok’s Chinatown, Thailand

If there’s one certainty (or as close to as possible) in life, it’s this: no matter what country or city you go to, Chinatown will always be there for you. Chinatown is a constant in most big cities across the globe, which is really quite phenomenal when you think about it. I always love checking out a city’s Chinatown as well, because you’re guaranteed to find some seedy looking little places with the most incredible food, as well as some real hole-in-the-wall shops that sell stuff you didn’t even realise you needed until you found it there.

Bangkok’s Chinatown is no exception to the rule – a quick and scenic boat ride down the river from the main tourist hub, it’s everything your mind conjures up when you hear the word “Chinatown;” it’s colourful, noisy, busy, constantly moving and bumping into you. It smells amazing and foreign, there’s stuff absolutely everywhere, with shops not merely contained to their physical stores, but with their wares spilling out onto the side walk. It’s tuk tuks and motorbikes masterfully dodging and weaving down the narrowest alleys possible, and making it look as simple as pushing a supermarket trolley through a wide open parking lot.

It’s people + craziness + market + food, which equals my heaven.

Here are some of my favourite shots from my visit in January…

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

What’s the Chinatown in your city like? Always looking for recommendations to add to my travel bucket list!

 

Through my eyes: Chinatown, Melbourne

I almost forgot I took these shots, I took them a while ago… just a bit of a different a look at Melbourne’s Chinatown, without all the usual shopfronts and windows, just the stuff I noticed around there…

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014