The Best Tips For Yellowstone When Visiting From West Yellowstone

When I was researching about the busiest months to go to Yellowstone, I was worried.  Most people visited the place during the summer months of June, July, and August.  Nearing beginning of October, all the cabins in Yellowstone were starting to close, the north, northeast, and east entrances were closed, and the weather would drop to like 1 degree Celsius.  Would the roads be too slippery to drive?  Would there be more bears coming out in the wild?

Turns out, when we went during early October, it was the perfect time to go, and I wasn’t even exaggerating.  The number of people there was just right – you were always able to find a parking spot, and there were just enough people to not feel you were deserted and that you were going to be safe, but still had plenty of space to move around and take photos.

Then there’s the weather.  The weather was perfect.  Even in the afternoon, you could get by with a t-shirt.  It was only until a little before sunset when you would start to feel chilly.  That’s when you will need to wear a jacket.

All things considered, I’d say our trip to Yellowstone was perfect in terms of pacing, timing, and the overall planning of the trip, and I want to share my tips with you to ensure you have a good time there as well.

West YellowstoneA picture of West Yellowstone

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Seriously, What to Do in San Jose and Fremont?

I admit again, NorCal really isn’t my favourite place to visit.  I always felt that the culture and the vibes weren’t what I desire, and the food and things to do here were just meh.  But since I had to come here due to personal reasons, I was brought around to try different things and did a bit of research to maximize the things I could do at this place.

Regardless of how you feel about NorCal, here I’ve written a couple of things that you can go visit or eat and my opinions on them.

 

Accommodation (Airbnb)

A super practical, simple, and well equipped Airbnb that’s incredibly clean and with a communicative host.  There were three bedrooms each equipped with their own bathroom, own towels, the host bought a small vacuum cleaner while we were there because we requested for one, an electronic fireplace, and a comfortable living room.  The Airbnb was also in a quiet neighborhood but a less than a 10 minute drive from downtown.

Airbnb

AirbnbMaster bedroom Continue reading Seriously, What to Do in San Jose and Fremont?

Hello Bozeman Montana, Hello Montana State University

The Bozeman airport was the recommended airport to get to Yellowstone.  Prior to landing at the airport, I’d assume Bozeman airport was some sort of small, dingy airport where tourists go just to go to Yellowstone.  But when I arrived, I was thoroughly impressed by how clean and themed the airport was.  Anyway, that’s why we were at Bozeman.

I continued to be dazzled by the fact that because of going to Yellowstone, I had to travel through 3 states – Montana for the airport, Idaho for the Airbnb, and Wyoming for the actual Yellowstone National Park.

Very midwest feel, lots of people wearing cowboy hats, and magnificent trees.  Downtown Bozeman feels very much like college town, with lots of support for their university as everywhere was displaying their mascot the Bobcat.

Downtown Bozeman

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Grand Teton – One Day Visit Itinerary

If you’ve never been to Yellowstone, you would think that Grand Teton is one of the most incredible national parks in the world.  We went in early/middle October, right after Yellowstone.  To be honest, it’s very hard to top Yellowstone, but Grand Teton by itself is magnificent to go to regardless and should be included as part of your Yellowstone trip.  While most blogs might advise two days to visit Grand Teton, we managed to do it one day at a comfortable pace.

Grand Teton encompasses mountain ranges, pristine lakes, valleys, rivers, open skies, alpine terrains, and if you’re lucky beautiful wildlife.  In Grand Teton, your itinerary should be almost like a loop.

If you are coming from Yellowstone, unless you are already living south of Yellowstone, I highly recommend moving to an accommodation near Jackson so it’s more convenient for you to reach Grand Teton.  For more information on Jackson, you can read Jackson Hole, The Affluent Town.

Grand TetonI forgot which stop this photo belongs, so I’m using it as a way to preview Grand Teton.  I think it’s Potholes Turnout or Lower Willow Flats Overlook, although I’m not 100% certain. Continue reading Grand Teton – One Day Visit Itinerary

Jackson Hole, The Affluent Town

To preface this blog post, technically Jackson is the town while Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley. But to make it easier for everyone to recognize the place, I’ve named the blog post as Jackson Hole, The Affluent Town.  In fact, besides our Airbnb, most of the things we’ve visited is around the Jackson Hole Town Square.

Prior to this trip, I didn’t really had any impression about midwest places, probably a bit more cowboy themed and less affluent than cities like Los Angeles.  While the cowboy part + wild west themes were quite true (lots of people wearing cowboy hats and plaid shirts), little did I know I would actually enjoy Jackson Hole very much.  The town is very clean, polite, more upscale… a lot of my non-US friends complain before that US didn’t have any culture, basically it was just burgers and movies and cities… everything that you can find mainstream globally.  But if you really want to experience “American culture” you have to go to Midwest, or at least Jackson Hole because you really do experience the midwest culture here, very different from top cities like LA and NY.

Speaking of difference, having visited Los Angeles and New York and other cities like San Jose and San Francisco, the race population is quite diverse.  When I was in Idaho / Montana / Wyoming (Jackson Hole), the population is over 95% white, so it was quite refreshing to go to a town that has a different population group.  The obvious question might be asked – did I experience racism (I’m Asian)? To be quite honest, not at all, except for one weird elongated glance from a neighbour when we first moved in our luggage to our airbnb when we first arrived, but other than that never felt it, despite being in a predominantly white area.

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Lisbon, That Mysterious Girl in Class

At first I hated her.  Her dimples were lopsided on one cheek to another, she had a capricious mood where she would shed quiet tears from time to time and then be happy again, she was an inch taller than me, and her eyes were grey.

But the more you become familiar with her, the more you start to find her romantic and magical.

Her imperfections make her seem raw and wanting to be loved, a vulnerability.  She’s mysterious, and wants somebody to explore her, somebody who loves her more and more because that somebody finds her edges and imperfections so… perfect.

And the more you spend time with her, the more she opens up to you.  She uncovers what you always loved – food, restaurants, energy, atmosphere, gorgeous skies, nightlife, districts, exotic languages, and her elegant body.

Her name was Lisbon, or Lisboa for what her friends called her.  She offered everything, from lust to everlasting. Continue reading Lisbon, That Mysterious Girl in Class

An “Importoant” Place called Porto

My final stop for my recent Europe trip was in Porto, a somewhat heavenly location in Portugal.  Located about a little more than 3 hours north of Lisbon, Porto was evidently colder and coincidentally greyer during the weekend I was there.  That said, one of my favorite areas of the entire trip was Bairro da Ribeiro and Cais da Ribeira.  Bars and restaurants line adjacent with one another, all of them overlooking the magnificent Douro River that looks as if it’s been sleeping for a thousand years.  I remember just sitting at Cafe do Cais and lazily observing the sunset, and thinking to myself what a surreal and delightful place this Porto was.

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The Matadors in Seville

When you think of the culture of Spain, one might imagine passion, royalty, and excitement.  Seville embodies these traits perfectly, and its passionate heat was felt throughout my time there; it was hot enough to wear t-shirts during the day whereas in Barcelona it was already cold.

Seville

Seville is notable for its bullfighting events and its flamenco dancing.  I was unable to witness either of them, although I did watch some flamenco dancing that was on the streets.

In a way, Seville reminded me of Nice (you can read my blog about Cote d’Azur here), where everything was spacious, a tram ran through the city center, it was the whole vibe and atmosphere that was very similar… I guess both cities being part of the Southern part of their respective countries lends itself to create such an atmosphere.

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Nonstop Eating in Taipei

You know you’re really getting a sense and vibe of a city once you start exploring the outer parts of the city.  For example, in Tokyo the first few times I would stick around the areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi… you know, all the main districts you have to first go as a tourist in Tokyo.  Then once you’ve been there multiple times, you will want to start to explore other less popular areas.  This usually happens with me around the 4th to 5th time I visit a city.  Taipei was no exception – this time, besides just being around Taipei 101, I managed to go to Jiufen Old Street, Keelung, Tamsui, and Houtong Cat Village.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my previous blog posts, probably did, but I tend to be attracted to places closer to the seaside.  That’s why some of my top favourite cities in the world that I’ve been to include Barcelona, Cape Town, Gold Coast, pretty much everywhere in Japan, the French Riviera etc.  That’s why I would say that I actually enjoyed going to places like Keelung and Tamsui, where I was treated to beautiful, stunning sunsets that left an indelible memory for me (I realised how much of a sucker I am for sunsets, especially the sunsets that morphs the skies from your typical sky blue to delicious colors like pink, purple, gold that occur on a sporadical basis).

For this blog post, I will start off by naming the things I did in Taipei and breaking down by the usual sections – accommodations, foods, things to do, nightlife etc. then I will do each section by each area that I covered.  I will share what I did, my opinions, fun anecdotes etc.

Edit: After writing this post, I realised just covering the main part of Taipei itself was way too long, so the upcoming/next post will focus on the outer skirts of Taipei like Keelung, Tamsui, Jiufen, Houtong, and Ruifang district.  It’s out!  Read more at Outskirts of Taipei.

Continue reading Nonstop Eating in Taipei

Portland, the Quirky City of Roses

Tattoos, nose rings, murals, trees, food carts.  These are all characteristics that make Portland so quirky and fun at the same time.

I knew nothing about Portland before arriving here, except the fact that this was where Nike was born.  From my blog post in Athens, we learn that the name Nike belongs to the Greek goddess, the goddess of Victory.

Prior to travelling here, I researched more about this city – about what to do, what to eat, where things are located, and more.  One key interesting fact is that Portland is one of the more ‘active’ cities in United States – currently for those who commute, the current percentage of people who bicycle to work is 7%.  The state’s target is to aim as high as 21%, and that means making infrastructure so that it becomes more cyclists’ friendly.  A second fact is that it tends to rain a lot… lucky for me though, I experienced only an afternoon of light rain and that was it. Continue reading Portland, the Quirky City of Roses