Beijing Travel Diary Pt. 4: Great Wall,Yuanmingyuan, Temple of Heaven, etc.

Here is the last post which covers all the remaining recommended Beijing tourist attractions! In addition to the Great Wall, Yuanmingyuan Park (Old Summer Palace), Tiantan (Temple of Heaven), and Qianmen, I also visited the Bell & Drum Tower, Hutongs, Ming tombs, and shopped at Wufujing, but I won’t be focusing on those activities.
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Yuanmingyuan Park is the old summer palace which was mostly destroyed during the Anglo-French allied forces attack in 1860. The park can be split into 3 different regions – Yuanmingyuan, Wanchunyuan, and Changchunyuan gardens. Sitting by the lake in Yuanmingyuan is so peaceful and highly recommended if you have ample time on your hands.
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You can see ruins here (not pictured) and lots of lotus flowers, which can be seen in the Changchunyuan garden.
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The Great Wall @ Badaling
Getting to the Great Wall is honestly a struggle but a must when visiting Beijing. The best way to get there is by joining a 1-day tour, because the Great Wall is located ~1.5-2 hours away from central Beijing. I heard tourists must be wary of taxis since they often unethically drop people off mid-drive to the location.
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We were dropped off near the Great Wall Museum (which is free btw), and rode a cable car to watchtower 8 ’North 8th Tower’, the highest point on the wall. Badaling is the most well-maintained region of the Great Wall, but is also very crowded. Still worth a visit, since this area contains thousands of years of history.
Tiantan (Temple of Heaven)
Tiantan is an imperial sacrificial altar where Chinese royalty worshipped their deities. Here is the ‘Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.’ Chinese royal architecture was very intentional; 4 pillars symbolizing the four seasons, 12 pillars equating to 12 months, the other 12 pillars symbolizing 12 hours 2x a day for a total of 28 pillars. In addition to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, there’s also the ‘Imperial Vault of Heaven’ and ‘Circular Mound Altar,’ which are other important structures located in Tiantan.
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Qianmen translates to front gate, and it is very centrally located near Tiananmen and famous shopping areas.
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Until next time,
Amanda

Wonderspaces

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*Photography Credit to Alvin in 2nd and 3rd photo

Hi everyone!

This summer I visited Wonderspaces, an interactive pop up museum in San Diego. The exhibits were very aesthetically eye-catching, colorful, clever, and fun! Above are some of the exhibits, my favorite was the exhibit featured in the second photo, it was essentially a dark room with holes poking out where light streamed through. I thought it mimicked a starry night and enjoyed how the artist sought to replicate that natural phenomenon. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Cheers,

Tiffany 

April Highlights

Didn’t get to go to Coachella, but had a great month of April. I compiled a bunch of highlights from my short stay at home in San Francisco as well as adventures around Los Angeles. My definition of fun is somewhat lame because I basically just visit coffee shops and eat 24/7. I did end up driving north to Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve where I saw stretches of poppies in full bloom. I picked up a couple vintage items at Melrose Trading Post as well. Location descriptions are in the video. It’s my first time doing this type of video, so let me know if you like it. Have a great beginning of May!

Amanda

Greater Portland Day 2: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Forest Park, and Mt. Tabor

Day 2 in Portland involved going to a handful of gardens and city parks.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

This year’s Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest fell between March 24th – April 30th. We visited the farm right at the beginning of the festival, which wasn’t the most optimal time since many of the tulips were still budding. Nevertheless, it was great to get away from the city and see the nearby vineyards and sprawling fields. You can catch the festival within the next few days until April 30th.

Note: do not be like ill-prepared me and wear your nice sneakers to Wooden Shoe. Rain boots are a must since the fields are wet from the constant Pacific Northwest rain.

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Woodburn Premium Outlets 

We didn’t have any plans to go mall shopping while on vacation, but Woodburn Premium Outlets was so close to Wooden Shoe that it just made sense to stop by. Woodburn Premium Outlets is like any other outlet, but I couldn’t pass on no sales tax in Oregon (Los Angeles sadly has 8.75% sales tax & San Francisco has 8.5%). I bought a couple blouses and a North Face jacket (for $30!!!).

Forest Park 

Located 10 minutes away from Downtown Portland, Forest Park hugs the west side of the city and boasts roughly 70 miles of hiking trails. You’ll understand why it has to rain constantly after visiting Forest Park because the whole thing is filled with lush greenery. There are multiple entrances into Forest Park so keep the GPS at bay. We took the Wildwood Trail and stumped upon this mini waterfall shown below. Forest Park is definitely one of my fave gems in Portland.

IMG_4754IMG_4785.jpgPS: We also saw a beautiful view of Downtown Portland on the way to Forest Park and couldn’t help but stop by for a quick snap. IMG_4706.JPG

Mt. Tabor Park 

We visited Mt. Tabor the morning we left for the airport but I decided to cram it in this post. Visiting in the morning meant we encountered locals making their morning jogs. The view of downtown Portland is also nice from here. IMG_4862.JPGIMG_4830.JPGIMG_4854.jpgThanks for visiting and stay tuned for the last Portland segment which will feature food + drinks. Hold on tight because it’s a long one! -Amanda

Portland Day 1: Multnomah Falls, Washington Park, Clinton-Richmond District

As promised, this is part 2 of my travel series dedicated towards the Greater Portland area. I practically ate half the time while in Portland, so I will dedicate a separate post for food/ drinks. This post denotes the attractions I did on Day 1: Multnomah Falls, Washington Park, Powell Books, and Clinton- Richmond Area.

Multnomah Falls 

The quintessential Portland attraction goes to Multnomah Falls, located roughly 40 miles away from Downtown Portland. The drive is fairly easy and hugs the Colombia River, but a recent landslide left the easiest path unaccessible. No worries because a minor detour did not deter us away from this magnificent waterfall. My family and I completed the hiking trail at Multnomah and enjoyed looking at the greenery along the way.IMG_4344IMG_4372

Washington Park 

We also stopped another green area – Washington Park – in hopes to see the famed rose garden. Alas, there were no roses, but we saw lots of daffodils and mist blanketing the trees. There is also a nice Japanese Garden located in Washington Park. IMG_4443IMG_4411

Clinton-Richmond 

This neighborhood became one of my favorite areas to visit while in Portland. We went to so many eateries in this area (Pok Pok & food trucks, which I will talk about in Part 4) and also popped into various shops. We went to Thicket, a garden shop on NE 23rd Avenue. There were so many cute plants and I couldn’t help but pick up a couple succulents for friends and family back home. Another great (& aesthetically pleasing) plant shop is Pistils Nursery, which is not shown here. IMG_4456IMG_4464

Many of the photogenic murals on Instagram are also located in this area. I loved these 2 shown below, which have cheesy but uplifting messages. Check out FFTTNW.com for more information about the artists and mission statement.

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Powell Bookstore 

Powell Bookstore is a must stop when in Portland. There are a couple stores located in Portland, but we went to the flagship one on Burnside Street in Downtown Portland. It was so nice to grab a coffee and walk around the massive bookstore perusing books. There’s something so tangible about flipping through pages in this digital era.

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If you want to view my trip via reel, take a look at this video here:

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for next week, where I will cover Day 2 of my Portland trip! -Amanda

Maui Travel Series: Christmas in Maui Video

As some of you may have discovered from watching our San Francisco video (check it out here!), my family and I spent Christmas holiday in Maui. I’d visited Oahu in the past and heard great things about Maui, so I was quite stoked to get some much needed rest and vitamin D. I have split my Maui travel series into 4 separate posts; the first one of course is the video attached above. The second post will go more in detail about Road to Hana, South Maui beaches, and Upcountry Maui. The third post will highlight Kapalua and Honolua. My fourth and final travel post will note the must-see food places everyone should try while on the island. Stay tuned as I will try to have a Maui post up every other week!

-Amanda

Day 1 was spent mostly settling into our hotel and exploring our surroundings, which includes Lahaina, the “downtown” of Maui.

Day 2 features the greater Kapalua area, specifically the Kapalua Coastal Trail.

Day 3 was spent beach-hopping alongside Southwest Maui, some which include Big Beach and Ulua Beach. We then drove for a hour to upcountry Maui, where we visited the lavender farms. To make the 6 pm sunset, we spent another 1.5 hours driving up Haleakala.

Day 4 is all about Road to Hana. We left at 6 am in the morning to make multiple stops along the trail. My favorites are Keanae Arboretum (where we saw rainbow eucalyptus trees!), Waianapanapa State Park (black sand beach), and Koki Beach.

Day 5 we spent in Honolua exploring Honolua Bay and the Village Walking Trails.

Day 6, which is our last day, was spent by the beach and pool.

Army Green Bomber Jacket

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Zara bomber jacket, ASOS cap, crop top, jeans, shoes

The bomber jacket has been trending for some time now, and I admit hopping on to the bandwagon and falling in love with the style. This one from Zara is the perfect neutral, green shade that flows seamlessly from day to night. I paired it with black basics and boyfriend jeans for a casual look. Thanks for visiting and hope you like the outfit!

-Amanda

3rd Anniversary

We both can’t believe it has been three years since the start of Flying Neon Lights. This blog has pushed us to experiment with crazy outfits, explore new places, and ultimately push us to exceed our comfort zones. Thank you for stopping by every week to check out our little corner of the web. We promise to continue improving our content in the future. Happy 3rd Anniversary, Flying Neon Lights!

Love,

Tiffany and Amanda

In the meantime, we’ll celebrate with our favorite looks and adventures from this year.

TRAVELS

NY Trip: Part I, Part II, and Part III linked

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OUTFITS

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Thanks for visiting!

NYC Diary: Part III

Behold, my final NYC travel installment. For the majority of my last few days, I alternated between walking the city by foot and visiting museums. Did some shopping in Soho, grabbed some Momofuku ramen/MILK in East Village, visited Wall Street, made a brief pit stop at the NY Public Library, and took a walk in Central Park (again). In addition to viewing exhibits at the Met, we also saw some modern art at the MOMA.

A tourist trip cannot exclude a journey to Statue of Liberty so we carved out time for that.
Part I is linked [here] and Part II is [here]. Thanks for visiting!
Amanda
Statue of Liberty

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NYC Diary: Part I

I finally pulled the trigger and bought tickets to NYC a couple weeks ago. Although I embarked on weekend-long trips to Dallas and Carmel Beach this summer, I didn’t have a long trip planned and was definitely feeling the travel bug. During my first day in the city, I kayaked along the Hudson River, strolled around Central Park, visited the World Trade Center, bought groceries in Little Italy and Chinatown, and of course stopped by Times Square. Stay tuned for my second segment of my NYC diary.

Times SquareIMG_9171Central ParkIMG_9225Central Park: Bethesda Terrace IMG_9179IMG_9214World Trade Center PATH station IMG_9383World Trade CenterIMG_9356Pho at ChinatownIMG_9386Little Italy IMG_9389Kayaking on the Hudson RiverIMG_9311View of One World Trade Center from the kayak IMG_2961Sunset viewing at the hotel rooftop IMG_9402IMG_9427Thanks for visiting!