I have always dreamed to travel to the U.S. I have always wanted to see the country that is known as the central of everything, the country full with skyscrapers, people from everywhere, and the latest fashion. So this journey across the continent is like a dream come true. I have started to prepare for this trip since the beginning of 2015. First of all, I begin to get ready for the visa application (searching for information through several websites). Secondly, I have come all the way to the hard part; the interview session. I am pretty worried at this stage because I have heard a lot about it. Some people said you need to have a very good bank statement (mine is not that good), some said you need to dress well, and some said you need to have a lot of supportive documents. It seems to be not easy but I won't give up. The interview session has ended up like in the wink of an eye and I have made it. I am authorized to get a 10-year American visa. I am on top of the world right now. I just can't stop smiling. Then it is time to plan the trip seriously. I have my trip planned in December. It will be freezing cold but what can I do it is winter!!! I intend to visit one of my friends who is living there basically but it has turned out to be a solo traveling trip for a certain reason. I learn this after I booked my flight yesterday. This doesn't look good and I am considering whether I should still go or not. After thinking all over again and again for quite sometimes, I guess I will just go for it even I will be on my own. I don't think it will be too difficult so let's go! Life is a journey by Nhong_Lip.
The airline I choose to travel with this time is Air China because the ticket is not expensive since I have limited budget. Instead of buying ticket at the higher price, I spend the differences on the accommodation expenses. I am also lucky to get the ticket around the time I want. However, I have to be well prepared for the flight as the airline is known for not being very relaxing. And for that, I have got ear plugs and eye pillow in hands. My flight departs from Bangkok in the early morning on 12th December 2015. Suvarnabhumi Airport is not crowded now which is great.
After being on board for more than 4 hours, I have arrived in Beijing. My next leg is to take another 13-hour flight to New York. The in-flight meal is mainly Chinese food. It seems to me that it is not as same as what I have tried before. The taste is strange somehow. I don't eat much because I don't want to use the restroom a lot anyway. The aircraft is huge and the seat is not bad. It is just the flight duration that is way too long. I can't help but feel sore everywhere. So I guess if I have a chance to go again next time, I will be pickier on choosing the airline. I am pretty sure that you completely understand what I am talking about if you have experienced this situation before....
This is the huge aircraft I am talking about. It will take me from Beijing to New York.
The view down below during the flight.
I arrive at New York in the afternoon of 12th December 2015 (The local time is 12 hours behind Thai local time). The flight is delayed a little bit and I am now at the airport immigration. Well, there are tons of people queuing so I guess I have to be here for a long time to get through. There will be one of my friends coming to pick me up. However, the immigration check is just too long and she can't wait for me. She has to go back to work. What shall I do now? I guess I will just take the taxi. To get one, you need to come out to the taxi point and tell the taxi controller where you need to go. You will be given a queue number and then you just have to wait for your turn. You are able to settle your taxi fare by cash or credit card as you prefer. I quite enjoy the ride seeing things along the way. And I have arrived at the hotel finally. I will stay in Hilton hotel chain in the whole trip (you might wonder why I can stay with them since I have limited budget. Well, I work for them so I can get a very cheap staff rate. It is even cheaper than some hostels and this is great).
This is my room for the next 2 nights at Hampton Inn Lagurdia Hotel. Does it look comfy?
Day 2 (13th December 2015)
The weather is so nice this morning but it might be a little cold for those living in warm country like me. You are still able to see the color leaves ready to fall off during this time of the year. My plan today is to meet one of my friends who is taking me to Manhattan, to find something delicious, and to watch a show. It will also be my very first time using the subway here.
The subway in New York is quite old. It has been set up for more than 100 years. It is incredible how they have planned the route and system to cover the whole town since that time. However, it is not easy to study the subway map compared to the subway system in Bangkok. So don't forget to download NYC Subway application on your mobile, it helps a lot.
The subway has taken me to Manhattan, the central of New York City. It is lunch time and I am hungry.
We are going to have lunch straight away. Our lunch is at Burger & Lobster, address W 10011, 39 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011. The highlight is the lobster and of course we have ordered it. Both Grilled Lobster and Burger are very delicious.
At 5 PM, we are on the way to see Christmas Spectacular show. This show is available for limited time only which is from the end of November to December. The show is held at Radio City Music Hall. Therefore, if you are here during this period of time; take a chance to go and see. It is so much fun, I recommend (you can have a look on YouTube if you want to know what this show is about).
It is getting dark very early here in winter. 5 PM is as dark as 8 PM in Thailand. Numbers of people all around are increasing. I have no clue where they are from. I guess this is why New York has a well-known nickname as "The City That Never Sleeps". Our next stop is Brooklyn. We are going to a village that fully decorated with Christmas lights.
"Dyker Heights Christmas Lights" is located at 82nd St Brooklyn, New York 11228. The village is decorated amazingly incredible. You can enjoy a walk through the whole village. This is so nice and it is free as well. Every single house does their very best on decorating their houses for people to take photos freely. This place attracts so many people both locals and tourists..
The second night in the U.S. is about to be gone. We choose to be here at 230 Fifth: Rooftop Bar to end the night. The view from up here is spectacular. You can see Empire State Building from here. It is very cold tonight. The warmth from drinking alcohol can't even help. And I would like to say good night to all of you with this photo. Tomorrow, I am going to Washington DC. Please stay tuned for Day 3 (14th December 2015) episode!
Day 3 (14 December 2015)
Today I am going to Washington DC by bus. To catch the bus, I travel by the subway to 42 St. Station and walk along the clear sign to Port Authority Bus Terminal (625 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018). The bus I travel with this time operated by Grey Hound https://www.greyhound.com. There is a bus traveling to Washington DC one every hour. The total travel time is more than 4 hours and the ticket prices are varied depending on the time of the day (around 40 USD roughly). You can buy the ticket online or at the counter as your convenience but please be noted that buying the ticket online in advance is cheaper. On the bus, you will find free Wi-Fi and power socket. And the bus will take you to Union Station in Washington DC (50 Massachusetts Ave Ne Washington, DC 20002).
I have arrived at Union Station safely. The next stop is Hampton Inn & Suites Reagan National Airport where I am going to stay tonight. I take the metro to the hotel directly. Even though the hotel is outside the city, it is located right next to the metro station. That's why it is easy to go around. Anyway, I am now at the hotel and have no more power so I guess I will see you tomorrow.
Day 4 (15th December 2015)
The weather in Washington DC this morning is very nice at 8 degrees Celsius. This kind of weather is perfect for wandering around. Well, I mainly travel by the metro here. It is quite easy compared to New York and I would say it is pretty similar to the one in Bangkok. It is also very clean. Moreover, the fares are depending on the number of stations that you want to travel. And in case of getting lost, you can just ask the locals. People here are very friendly.
I travel by the metro to Smithsonian Station, the station right at the central of all major tourist attractions. The weather continues to be very nice with beautiful sunshine. I am sure I will get a lot of nice photos, so let's go!
It is very sunny today.
Red capital bikeshare.
Yeah Yeah! Once you get out of the station, you will find Washington Monument standing loftily right in front of you.
I am standing at Washington Monument overlooking Lincoln Memorial in a short distance. And I am walking toward it now.
It is not crowded today at Lincoln Memorial. That means I have plenty of time taking photo around without people bothering. What a beautiful day with blue sky, some little cloud, and refreshing wind! Today's program is to walk, walk, and walk. So I stop and take a seat sometimes to rest. hahaha
I have spent a short time in Smithsonian since I don't like this kind of stuffs that much. I prefer great view instead.
I continue walking around the city. Washington DC is a very clean city and this makes all the surroundings look even more beautiful.
Some huge restorations are on process in this capital city.
Look how beautiful this city is!
And when in Washington DC, you have got to come to the White House.
Day 5-7 (16th-19th December 2015)
I have returned to New York by taking the bus from the same company. Well, it is already dark when I arrive. This time I am going to stay at Hampton Inn Manhattan Soho for the next 3 nights. It seems to me that this neighborhood is pretty busy at night. Anyway, I don't hesitate to complete the check-in process quickly before finding something to eat. I am very tired and hungry. Thanks god, there is a pizzeria not far from the hotel so I am getting one big piece of pizza right away.
Would you like to have some?
It is quite expensive here. It is roughly 7 USD for one piece of the pizza.
This is amazing having pizza while watching Miss Universe preliminary round. I am supporting Nat from Thailand completely and she is doing so well. I wish I could be in Las Vegas right now. I really want to be there to see it live.
The competition has finished. I better go to take a shower and sleep so I can wake up and go out early tomorrow. I woke up with the nightmare of the reality. The reality that it is raining and it doesn't seem to stop anytime soon. Oh my God! It has ended up raining the whole day so I have no choice but stay in.
Ouch! I almost forget to book the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Let's do it now! If not I might forget again. Tomorrow will be cloudy and I guess I won't get any nice photos though. For your information, to go to see the Statue of Liberty you should book the ferry ticket in advance. If not, in case you go and buy the ticket at the counter you might not get the ticket due to the fully booking. I get the ticket through this website www.statuecruises.com. It is easy to do so. Once you have reserved it successfully, you will get the confirmation email and you just need to present it upon arrival. I am going to see the iconic Statue of Liberty tomorrow finally. I bet this is one of the things in your checklist when in New York. So good night for now.
Day 7 (19th December 2015)
There is no sunlight at all today and it is freezing cold since it was raining whole day yesterday. It is roughly -1 degrees Celsius. My jacket and my hand gloves can't help much. Once you bring hot coffee outside the building, it will turn cold within 10 minutes. According to my plan, I am on my way to see the Statue of Liberty. I take subway to South Ferry Station right in Downtown Manhattan to take the ferry at Battery Park City. From South Ferry Station, you need to walk through the park to the ferry pier. It is very easy to find. In addition, the park is pretty brown these days. The trees have no more leaves. And it is even colder now once I reach the shore because of the wind. The smoke is coming out of my mouth nonstop. Well, it kind of ring me the time being by the campfire roasting some sweet potatoes though. Anyway, I choose the very first ferry of the day. One good thing is that there are not that many people and they are mainly tourists.
You can see One of World Trade Building from the pier as well.
There is a strict security check before boarding to the ferry as same as at the airport. You need to queue up before entering a big tent for this. It is for the safety reason. After you are done, you can board the ferry right away. The ferry is a 3-storey ferry and you can choose to sit anywhere you want. Of course, I choose to be on the top deck because it offers a better view. It is very windy up here and I feel super cold with my teeth chattering. I almost give up and run down to the lower floor but I just need to be strong. The ferry starts to get off from the pier leaving the beautiful view of Manhattan Island behind.
What I have been looking forward to see is right in front of me right now, the Statue of Liberty. Time can never fade away the beauty of the Statue of Liberty. It stands beautifully still. The ferry is getting closer to the island and we are able to see the statue from all angles. It is truly magnificent.
The ferry has finally approached the pier and we are getting onto the island to see the Statue of Liberty closely.
There is a souvenir shop inside the statue's base but all stuffs are very expensive. I am going up to the higher level of the base of the statue now. At this point, you will be divided into different lines according to your reservation. You are able to bring your camera and your valuable items only. All other stuffs need to be stored in the paid lockers. The price of using it is by hour. Inside the base of the statue is all about its history and how it was constructed. It is quite tiring walking all the way up though.
Once you walk out of the base of the statue in the high level, you will be able to spot Manhattan Island from far away.
I come down to get my bag quickly because I don't want to be charged extra. And I better move fast to take more photos as well since it starts to rain and I have no clue if it is going to be a heavy one.
I have ended up Part 1 of my journey in the U.S. here at Statue of Liberty. Thank you for reading through my review. Please stay tuned for Part 2! Let's see where I will take you to but I confirm that it will be another fun trip.
Life is a journey by Nhong_Lip