5 Days in Mexico City, Mexico (February 2019)

Ciudad de México

Hola amigos! I guess thanks again to the flight gods (who may be a little mad at us this year since I haven’t been able to find cheap flights for February or April break trips!), Hubby and I were dictated to travel to Mexico City for our February break last year (~$300/pp on Interjet). Mexico City is vibrant, warm, and culturally and historically immersive, and best of all – super affordable for budget-minded folks like me. In efforts to prepare to be more legit travelers, we both upped time on our Duo-Lingo apps and ultimately got by fine using our basic Spanish and handy Google Translate for additional support. I also binged watched “Made In Mexico” on Netflix… if that counts as preparation as well (I mean, I did take note of the attractions they went to, guey!). More after the jump.

Day 1 – Sun

  • Flew from JFK -> MEX; landed at 3:35PM
  • Check-in to AirBnB in La Condesa
  • Dinner at La Casa de Toño

Day 2 – Mon

  • Breakfast at Panificadora Condesa (Bakery)
  • Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacán (Teotihuacán Pyramids)
    • Pyramid of the Sun (Pirámide del Sol)
    • Pyramid of the Moon (Pirámide de la Luna)
    • Palace of the Quetzal Butterfly (Palacio Quetzalpapalotl)
    • Patio de los Jaguares y Caracoles Emplumados
    • Museo de Sitio Teotihuacan
  • Lunch at La Gruta (Restaurant inside a cave!)
  • Dinner at El Tizoncito

Day 3 – Tue

  • Tianguis de Condesa (Farmer’s Market in La Condesa)
  • Historico Centro
  • National Palace
  • Zocalo
  • Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Templo Mayor
  • House of Tiles
  • Churreria El Moro (Chocolate Churros)
  • Chinatown
  • Lunch at random street cart near Chinatown
  • Dinner at El Pescadito
  • Lucha Libre at Arena México

Day 4 – Wed

  • Chapultepec Park
  • Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec)
  • National History Museum (inside the castle)
  • Lunch at El Huequito (Condesa Location)
  • Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología)
  • Dinner at El Califa

Day 5 – Thu

  • Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
  • Lunch at “Burrito Y Taco Chu-Chin” near train station
  • Walk around La Condesa
  • Dinner at El Tizoncito

Day 6 – Fri

  • MEX -> JFK at 9:45AM
Read More »

Bangkok, Thailand (August 2018)

Bangkok was pretty bangin’

We flew into Bangkok from New York and stayed there for one night before flying to Chiang Mai (you can read about that here!) the next morning. Our last leg of the trip was also spent in Bangkok before flying back home. Bangkok is a busy bee city, full of people, cars, bikes and tuk tuks. Super interesting stuff to do… More info after the jump!

Day 0 – Tue (Before Chiang Mai)

  • Arrival 12:40PM at airport, used Grab app (Thai Uber) to order a car
  • Checked into Aloft hotel
  • Walked around area at night
  • Went to Terminal21 mall and ate dinner at Thai Street Food Express in Food Court
  • Hotel pool

Day 1 – Mon (After Chiang Mai)

  • Check-in to Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers
  • Walked to Chinatown
  • Dinner at 511 Cafe

Day 2 – Tue

  • Breakfast at 7-eleven
  • Water ferry from hotel to Wat Arun Rajwararam
  • Wat Pho
    • The Vihara of the Reclining Buddha
  • The Grand Palace
    • Temple of the Emerald Buddha
  • Lunch at Ama Art & Eatery
  • Rest in hotel
  • Dinner at Sukishi Buffet at MBK Center (all you can eat – hot pot belt go around)

Day 3 – Wed

  • Breakfast at The Coffee Club at River City
  • Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall
  • Dinner at Enjoy Bkk Bistro Bar

Day 4 – Thu

  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • Maeklong Railway Market
  • Lunch near railway market (try the Khao Man Gai!)
  • Headed to airport
Read More »

Koh Samui, Thailand (August 2018)

Cheap skewers at the Lamai Sunday Street Market

I’ll keep this post brief as I didn’t do that much in Koh Samui.

This was the last island before we headed back to the mainland and honestly, we could’ve skipped it. We primarily came to break up the travel between Koh Tao and Bangkok (as Koh Samui was the closest island that had an airport). It was fine for 2 days but I would’ve rather stayed at Koh Tao or Koh Phangan longer instead. Koh Samui was much more noticeably tourist-run, lots of people on the beach and just higher priced than the other islands. Drinks, food, taxi, hotel rooms – overpriced and not that much better. We ended up just hanging out at the beach most of the time, which is fine for a day but we would’ve wanted more (affordable) adventure the rest of the time. The only special things we really did was see an amateur Muay Thai fight one night and walk a street market, which you could do at other cities/islands.

local muay thai fighting

Day 1 – Sat

  • Arrival at hotel via taxi from the port (no grab app)
  • Lunch at Harry’s Restaurant (medicore)
  • Went back to hotel to relax as it was raining
  • Dinner at Made In (better than lunch). Friendly service.
  • Walked around Downtown Lamai
  • Lamai Muay Thai Boxing only on Saturdays at 10PM

Day 2 – Sun

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Beach Day!
    • 1/2 price juices and smoothies at neighboring hotel’s beach bar. Get the watermelon smoothie – I’m obsessed.
  • Lunch at The Cuisine
  • Dinner at Lamai Sunday Street Market – good, cheap street food. Definitely try the skewers.

Day 3 – Mon

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Hotel van to airport for flight to Bangkok

Stay: Lamai Coconut Beach Resort
Busy beach front resort at Lamai Beach. Great for its close vicinity to the beach as well as restaurants. Plus it had free breakfast (but food was mediocre). We stayed in a room with a balcony that had a slight ocean view- there is a wooden bench on the balcony but no loungers to fully relax on. The hotel provided free sun beds at the beach. All sights/restaurants were walkable from hotel.

Koh Tao, Thailand (August 2018)

On top of Nangyuan Island

Koh Tao, aka Turtle Island, was my favorite island and my favorite other place visited besides Chiang Mai. This island screams IM SUPER CHILL BRAH AND EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT. I loved Koh Tao because everything was pretty much walkable in the part where we stayed (Sairee Beach). It was like a beach town but there wasn’t really a beach to hang out at… at least no sand area. Koh Tao is known for scuba diving and snorkeling and there are many areas on the island to do just that.

Day 1 – Tuesday

  • Check in to Sairee Cottages
  • Lunch at Sairee Cottage Restaurant
  • Walked around the area
  • Dinner at Farango Pizzeria (dude…$90 baht/$3 USD magherita pizzas here for happy hour)

Day 2 – Wednesday

  • Breakfast at PermPoon Coffee Bar by the Pool (part of our hotel)
  • Hung out at the pool
  • Rained so we hung out at our balcony and read or played games
  • Went to go check out different snorkeling and scuba diving places
  • Dinner at 995 Roasted Duck (BEST FOOD OF THE TRIP)
  • Dessert at Butter I-cream (ice cream at our hotel)

Day 3 – Thursday

  • Breakfast at PermPoon Coffee Bar by the Pool
  • Oxygen2 Snorkeling Tour (Full Day)
  • Snorkeling at Nangyuan Island, Shark Bay, Mango Island, Lighthouse Bay and Aow Leuk. Lunch, snacks and beverages included.
  • BBQ dinner at Sairee Cottages Restaurant

Day 4 – Friday

  • Breakfast at PermPoon Coffee Bar by the Pool
  • Scuba Diving Lesson and Open Water Dive at Ban’s Diving Resort
  • Dinner at Roasted Duck (yeah this place was freaking awesome, we went twice)
  • Dessert at Butter I-cream

Day 5 – Saturday

  • Breakfast at PermPoon Coffee Bar by the Pool
  • Taxi to Mae Haad Pier for Koh Samui
Read More »

Koh Phangan, Thailand (August 2018)

First island stop on our honeymoons

Pronounced “Ko Pahng Yun”, this island is famous for its wild full moon parties or half moon parties (or any parties) at Haad Rin. We just missed the full moon party so we opted to explore the quieter sides of the island. It’s a bigger island, one where you even by motorbike, it may take you an hour to ride somewhere because of the roads. We only planned to stay for 1.5 days but we would’ve like to add on another day to check out more of the island. I’ll include a list of things recommended but we didn’t have time to do.

Day 1 – Sunday

  • Thai Smiles flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui
  • Ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan
  • Taxi to High Life Bungalow & Check In
  • Dinner at Zots Resto @ Tantawan Resort

Day 2 – Monday

  • Breakfast at Tantawan Resort
  • Motorbike rental at My Hut
  • Mae Haad Beach
  • Haad Khom Beach
  • Lunch at Haad Khom Bungalow Restaurant
  • Pool at High Life Bungalow
  • Dinner at High Life Bungalow

Day 3 – Tuesday

  • Breakfast at High Life
  • Secret Beach
  • Check out and took their taxi to the pier for Koh Ta
Read More »

Chiang Mai, Thailand (August 2018)

When I first night we touched down in Bangkok, I was super overwhelmed. It’s a crazy city with tight sidewalks, heavy traffic in the streets, and aggressive vehicles. To be honest, even though I’ve lived in NYC all my life, I was uncomfortable. Thankfully, the very next morning, we flew to Chiang Mai because that was the scene I was ultimately looking for. Chiang Mai is a smaller city, north of Bangkok. When I was doing research, Chiang Mai was the most mentioned city besides Bangkok to visit so I knew I had to go. There are tons to do here – from cheap eats and massages to Temple hopping to seeing elephants to street markets to cooking classes. Chiang Mai to me was the chill, adventurous, spiritual sister of Bangkok.

Day 1 – Wednesday

  • Arrival at Hotel at 1:00pm
  • Walk around area
  • Lunch at Its Good Kitchen (actually pretty good)
  • 1-hour Thai Massage at Lila Thai Massage
  • Wat Phra Singh Waramahavihan
  • Walk down Rachadamnoen Road to Old Gate, window shopped
  • Coffee break at The Coffee Club
  • Dinner at Krua Dabb Lob (it’s ok)

Day 2 – Thursday

  • Elephant Nature Park all day
  • Dinner at Kanjana Restaurant (very good)

Day 3 – Friday

  • Thai Akha Cookery School
  • 2 hour massage at Lila Thai Massage
  • Ploen Rudee Night Market
  • Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
  • Walk around night bazaar area
  • Dinner at Ploen Rudee Night Market

Day 4 – Saturday

  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
  • Lunch at Its Good Kitchen
  • Monk chat at Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara
  • Dinner at Cafe de Thaan Aoan (it’s ok)
Read More »

Our Thai Honeymoon with Travel Tips

Honeymoonin’ at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Swasdi! We just got back a few weeks ago from our honeymoon in the land of smiles, Thailand. We went for about 19 days (the longest we have been out of the country) and it was nothing short of spectacular. We decided to do Thailand for our honeymoon because (1) it’s much more affordable for a long trip, (2) we wanted nice beaches, and (3) we wanted good food. We’ve only heard great things about Thailand from friends and knew it was the place to be.

We hit up 2 cities and 3 islands which I’ll make separate posts about. Overall, Thailand was beautiful and full of interesting and new things for us to try. I’d highly suggest it as a honeymoon destination for any couple… heck, I’d suggest it for anyone – there were a lot of backpackers and families. We got by just fine with only English and at no time did I feel unsafe (just be smart and aware of your surroundings). Thai people are usually very, very nice people and they don’t scam you. The people that are more likely to scam you are the foreigners living in Thailand. I was pretty anxious and worrisome about going to an Asian country just the two of us for the first time but it really was pretty easy.


We used Hopper to track flights from JFK to Bangkok (seemed to be the cheapest city for us to fly into) and ended up booking Korean Airlines with a layover in South Korea. I think it was around $850 round trip. There are no direct flights form JFK to BKK. Next time you need to do a layover in Asia, please do yourself a favor and do it in South Korea if you can. Incheon Airport in South Korea was the best airport I have ever been to – it looks gorgeous, is really clean and bright and has ton of activities for grumpy waiting passengers. Tons of shopping, food, rest areas with comfy lounge chairs, a “sleeping” area, “digital” gyms which I definitely played in, free showers, different exhibitions to check out, apparently a movie theatre, and more. All of this definitely made my 5 hour layover much better. There are also multiple FREE tours into Seoul depending on how long your layover is.

Things To Get Before the Trip

My best friends Mike & Matt backpacked across South East Asia (check out Backpack Bros for their experiences) and loved using their backpacking packs. I took note and put two Ospreys packs on my wedding registry and luckily got both of them. I used the Osprey Packs Fairview 55 Travel Backpack and the hubby used the guy version, Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack. Somehow I was able to channel whatever minimalism I had and pack for 3 weeks in one backpack. You’re darn right I was super proud of myself! Using these backpacks instead of suitcases made commuting around, hopping around cities/islands, just so much easier. We saw many families (including little kids) use them too. Plus laundry is cheap in Thailand.. we only had to do it once and it was like $6 for 2 pounds of laundry (came back neatly folded too!). Plus those Osprey packs come with detachable day packs, which were used very often.

Another new thing we got before our honeymoon that has definitely been a game changer for us during our trip is our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. There are a ton of websites that talk about the benefits of this card, despite its steep annual fee, so I won’t go into detail. NerdWallet does a great article with a spend calculator to see if it’s worth it (luckily my husband and my spend combined makes it worth it). We have used this card for booking our flights, ferries, and hotels (3x points and included insurance/piece of mind), restaurants and shops in Thailand that take CC (no foreign trans fee), and something that my husband is now loving – access to many airport lounges. Free food, drinks and wifi + quieter and comfier atmosphere to wait = happy Eileen (+ hubby). The Skyteam lounge in Incheon Airport also has massage chairs.

One old thing we used very frequently was my Charles Schwab debit card (no foreign ATM fees) (I talk about it more here). I was not comfortable carrying so much cash on me at once so this came quite handy, saving me ~$7 of ATM fees per transaction. At the end of the trip, I only had $9 USD in Thai baht left so I didn’t have to lose that much out on converting back to USD.

In Thailand, my most used apps were Google Maps for directions, TripAdvisor for food and activity searching on the spot, and Grab (in Bangkok & Chiang Mai). Grab is like the Uber of Thailand.

Hope these tips were helpful! 🙂


Munich, Germany (April 2017)

Hanging at the beautiful Marienplatz

I enjoyed Munich slightly a little more than Berlin. While Berlin was much more history-rich, Munich was much more of the walkable, beautifully decorated, “loved-getting-lost” kind of city. It reminded me of Prague, where every street was just so lovely to look at. We absolutely did not realize we booked our trip in Munich over Good Friday weekend so we kind of limited ourselves to doing most things on Thursday and not being able to do some things, like go to the top of St. Peter’s Church. But everything worked out and I think we saw everything we wanted to- luckily because a lot of it was just visiting public grounds.

Wednesday, Day 1

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof -> Munich Central Station
  • Dinner at Wirtshaus zum Straubinger

Thursday, Day 2

  • Dachau Concentration Camp
  • Lunch at saray imbiss
  • Nymphenburg Palace
  • Viktualienmarkt
  • Snack at Der verrückte Eismacher und der Froschkönig (Ice Cream)
  • Dinner at Andy’s Krablergarten

Friday, Day 3 (Good Friday)

  • Breakfast at Weinhaus Schneider
  • Marienplatz
  • Munich Residence
  • St. Peter’s Church
  • Englischer Garten
  • Eisbach Wave
  • Dinner at Schnitzelwirt

Saturday, Day 4

  • Breakfast at Café Frischhut
  • Train to Frankfurt
Read More »

Berlin, Germany (April 2017)

Fiance (at the time) & me at the Brandenburg Gate

Hallo! On my day off from grad school and after a failed attempt at making Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream this morning, I’m finally getting around to writing about Germany. We flew from JFK to Frankfurt Airport but the first city we actually went to was Berlin. Berlin is awesome. It’s not “beautiful/scenic” (as it was destroyed during WWII) or a major foodie spot but it’s super filled with so much to see and embrace. Plus, as it was rebuilt, commuting around Berlin was pretty easy walking-wise and with its train system… once we figured out how ticketing worked. More details after the jump.

Sunday, Day 1

  • Arrived at 9:45AM at Frankfurt Airport
  • Took a train from Frankfurt am Main Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Frankfurt Airport Main Train Station) to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Train Station)
  • Dinner at Stadtklause

Monday, Day 2

  • Train to Flakturm Humboldthain (Flak Tower)
  • Underground Bunker Tour at Berliner Unterwelten e.V.
  • Train to & Lunch at Curry at the Wall
  • Museum Island
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Berlin TV Tower
  • Bebelplatz (Memorial to the book burning of 1933)
  • Gendarmenmarkt (Square)
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Topography of Terror
  • Führerbunker (the location where Hitler’s bunker was (just a parking lot now))
  • Dinner at Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap

Tuesday, Day 3

  • Reichstag Building Tour
  • Lunch at Cafe Bondi
  • Berlin Wall Memorial & Visitor Center
  • Train to Eastside Gallery
  • Train to Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)
  • Dinner at Mabuhay (Indonesian)

Wednesday, Day 4

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Train Station) -> München Hauptbahnhof (Munich Central Train Station)
Read More »

Recap of what happened this past year!

I’m back! It’s been a more than a year since my last post. A lot has happened since then (all good things!) and unfortunately, I just didn’t really have any time to write. It was my most challenging year yet but I would say it was one of the best.

So what happened?…

I got married!
Planning a wedding took a lot of my free time but it was pretty fun in retrospect, minus the emotional drainage and stress of timelines/$$$ (okay, I’m not selling it but I swear it’s not so bad). Like everyone says, it all works out and it did. It was a perfect day that went way too fast.

I changed my career!
A lot of people gave me O_O eyes when I told them I was leaving my 6-figure salary corporate consulting job where I got to occasionally travel and have fancy client dinners and almost always work from home… to become a teacher. But I also went from a job that I was not passionate about, absolutely dreaded going to work project managing or writing monotonous reports, working in a cut-throat environment… to a career where I was constantly challenged and never bored, work with people who want to collaborate to help the kids, help students get an equitable education, and get so much love from crazy but adorable kids. Teaching is f**cking hard and exhausting. It’s not a perfect system and there are a lot of moving parts to deal with. I worked harder and much longer hours my first year than I did in all my years as a consultant. But I love my job. (Plus I have summers and week long breaks during the year which is preeeeeettty awesome. But trust me – teachers need it. fo reals.)

I encourage anyone (who can financially handle it) to explore to find a job that they find a good fit. Many people like consulting and that’s fine. It just wasn’t right for me. I took a few months to explore different jobs before I found one I wanted to try. I could have absolutely hated teaching. But I tried something new.

For anyone who is interested in becoming a teacher, my advice is to volunteer in a classroom first (teaching if possible) to get a feel for it. It’s an intense path to even get to be in the classroom with handfuls of exams (which also cost monies) and courses you need to take.

If you are a career changer (non education degrees), look into fast-track programs like teaching fellowships. I considered Teach For America but I did not like that they don’t guarantee you the city you want. I did the NYC Teaching Fellows which was a 7-8 week program. After I passed the program, I was granted certification which allowed me to teach in NYC public schools while I worked on my professional license. Instead of being placed in a school, this program also allowed me to choose the schools I wanted to apply and interview for.

I’m also happy to chat with anyone who wants to learn more. Feel free to reach out.

I went back to school
Through the NYC Teaching Fellows, I was placed in a subsidized masters program. Which meant I took 2 courses at night every semester and am actually taking summer classes right now. I’ll be finished with my masters next year (in total, about a 2 year program).

I learned a heck of a lot this year but I think one of the most important take-aways from this year was… Do what makes you happy. It’s not easy but it’ll be worth it.