Thinking about Asia? Take it from the a former China expat and lover of all things Asia and see why you should picture yourself in Asia next!
I have a soft spot for Asia (and not just because I’m Vietnamese!). I am a born and raised Californian, and I didn’t travel to Asia until 2006 – but when I finally arrived in China, I was in for an amazing adventure – one that I know all of you will want to experience too. Take it from me – I spent 2 years living in China and traveling through Southeast Asia – which includes my first visit to Vietnam, where my parents were born and raised and where my heritage lies. I have a soft spot for Asia, and here are many of the reasons why you should picture yourself in Asia – through my own pictures and experiences.
Asia boasts a culinary experience that emphasizes fresh vegetables, meats, sauces, bold flavors, and a plethora of street food that will fill your nostrils with the scents and sounds of the city you are experiencing. For me, I liked to venture out to the aptly-titled “breakfast alleys” and grab myself some freshly steamed dumplings (known as ‘xiaolongbao’ to enjoy in the morning.
The moment I walked across Tiananmen Square and over to the Forbidden City, I was taken aback by the mere fact that this palace had once been set aside only for the Imperial family – no commoners allowed (therefore the “forbidden” part). Since 1925, less than 100 years ago, the palace has been the charge of the Palace Museum, and this is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Thousands of years of history reside in those palace walls, and even in recent times, you’ll get to stroll past the Olympic village in Beijing, where the 2008 Summer Olympics were held in full regalia and spectacle. Picture yourself in the midst of one of the oldest cultures in the world!
In China, I took a bamboo raft down the Yulong River near Yangshuo, and participated in a dragon boat race in Shanghai, China. In Vietnam, I rode on the back of a moped through the streets of Ho Chi Minh city, took a junk boat to Halong Bay, and ate Vietnamese pho from a local street vendor. In Hong Kong, I saw the skyline from the top of Victoria Peak, and went to Lantau Peak to see the largest seated Bronze Buddha in the world. Asia is for the ones looking to experience the daily pulse of cultures that still maintain a lot of their culture and traditions – in their activities, in their clothing, in their food, and even in their dialects.
I have nothing but wonderful, positive experiences to share from my time in Asia and hope you picture yourself in Asia sometime soon too!