This past year I was lucky enough to cross the Yi Peng Festival off my bucket list. For those who are unfamiliar, Yi Peng is a festival that takes place in Chiang Mai, Thailand in November each year. We ventured away from our hotel and headed over to the area where the festival is held around 5 p.m. As soon as we pulled up there were crowds everywhere, people selling lanterns, vendors selling trinkets, and tons of street food. There was a sectioned off area that resembled a carnival of sorts for children. We wandered around sampling eats and purchasing our lanterns. Yi Peng coincides with Loy Krathong which is another festival in Thailand where locals set off candlelit decorated baskets into the river. We also picked out a floral basket to light up and release into the water during this time. It was a lively scene and you could feel the excitement in the air. At around 7 p.m. thousands of people gathered on to Nawarat bridge to light their lanterns and release it into the sky, releasing with it all the negativity from the past year and making their wishes for the future. Right before 7 p.m. there were just the odd few lanterns being lit and released. Some people were letting their lanterns go way too quickly and the lit lanterns were falling into the crowds as people pushed them back into the sky – the crowds cheering as the lanterns made their way to take-off. As 7 o’clock hit, people began to release their lanterns into the sky. Lanterns were also falling into trees and burning, falling straight into the river and the ones that were being let go in the middle of the bridge rather than the edge of it were making their way right into people. It was quite scary at times, with lanterns coming from every which way there were several moments were lanterns were heading straight into me. I also left the event with a slight burn on my forehead from a lantern that burned into a tree above me. The ash fell straight from above onto my forehead…ouch. Chris and I took a bit of a break in the middle to have some dinner and drinks as it seemed to be straight chaos and we wanted to get out of it. When we left the pub, the sight before us was unbelievably beautiful. It had gotten even darker and the lanterns completely filled the night sky. The river was loaded with illuminating floral baskets. It was so stunning. One of the most gorgeous sights I’ve ever seen. Chris and I went to the edge of the bridge and lit our lanterns one by one, made our wishes and released them into the sky. We watched as they slowly floated above us and joined the thousands of others. We wandered the streets afterwards taking photos and videos (none of which do the experience any justice), talking to people and just taking it all in. The night ended with a gorgeous display of fireworks. I felt like I was in a dream. I feel so blessed to have had this experience in my lifetime. It’s one I will definitely always look back on as being one of my fondest memories.
I booked a spa day for myself and two of my girlfriends at the lovely Absolute Spa at the Century Plaza Hotel. We were booked in a room for three which was a unique experience. After we arrived, we were taken on a quick tour of the spa then were asked to change and meet in the relaxation area. Our RMTs greeted us promptly then we were taken upstairs to the room for three. I’ve had treatments done in a “couple room” at spas before, but this was my first time in a room for three. We had a good giggle about it at first, but it was pretty awesome to spend the afternoon at the spa with two of my best girlfriends from start to finish. My massage was heavenly. I’ve had plenty of massages in my lifetime, some great and some pretty mediocre. The massage I received here left me relaxed with my knots well worked out. I was a happy girl. Following the massage we were led into a room to have a light lunch that was included in our service price. We were served a delicious chicken salad. I was told on the phone that we would be getting a “snack” so this was much more than I was expecting. It was such a perfect, relaxing day with my girlfriends. I left feeling very pampered. The service we received went above and beyond and I will be back.
What better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday than exploring beautiful British Columbia. My husband Chris and I woke up early on Canada Day to drive over to Cypress Mountain to do the hike to St. Mark’s Summit.
Now I wouldn’t call us hikers really, but we were determined to try this one out after hearing how beautiful the view was.
We got out of our house pretty early with backpacks full of water, snacks and a pre-packed lunch. The drive to our destination was about 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. When we arrived there were groups of people looking at maps all working toward the same goal as us, but we all seemed equally confused as to where the trail started. Finally, after asking a group of people in the parking lot, we learned that we (and the other group of people we were speaking with) were on the wrong side and we headed over to start the trail. I really wish the start of the trail was clearly marked. Getting started was confusing. However, the helpful people we met told us that we needed to start on the Howe Sound Crest trail and it would eventually leads us to St. Mark’s Summit.
We began our hike in high spirits stopping to take photographs of ponds and prettiness. As we ventured further in, the incline began. Not too fun,but it was expected. What was surprising to me was after we were a fair bit of the way in, there were sections covered in blankets of snow. Perhaps about half of the trail in different sections was this way. I wasn’t expecting that on July 1. It was good lesson for me. Again, as we aren’t avid hikers, we were wearing runners and when we got to the snow sections it was quite slippery. Everyone was falling. As we got closer to the top it became much more steep and there was much much more snow. It was very difficult without the correct shoes on.
When we finally arrived at the top it was gorgeous! I do wish it was a little less crowded as it was hard to take photographs of that stunning view or get close to the front as there were people everywhere. We found a nice spot and sat down and had lunch and enjoyed the beautiful view as cute little chipmunks ran around us. It was so fantastic.
After spending about 45 minutes at the top, we started on our way back down the mountain. Dreadful. The way down the mountain in the snow made us both miserable. There was a lot of sliding, falling and cursing. I have to say that there was sense of camaraderie with all the hikers as several people would fall or be trying to balance in the snow. It was comical and fun. On the other hand there was a section that I was extremely worried and nervous about. There was a creek covered in snow and you had to cross in the snow to get to the other side, but there were sink holes and when you looked down into the sink holes you could see the far fall down to the creek. I felt such fear crossing this area. On our way back there was gentleman crossing with his poles right before us and as he crossed more of the snow fell after him to reveal more holes. My husband and I slowly made our way across, but I was scared. My shoes were slipping in the snow and I just kept thinking that if my shoes slip there I go right into the sink hole and into the creek. I think they should consider making a little bridge over the creek.
My husband and I were hating it towards the end with our shoes covered in mud and filled with creek and swamp water and our hands and butts frozen from sliding down the mountain in the snow. My husband, although he was super sweet and helped me up each time, made a little game of counting my falls. The final count was 13 hard falls in the snow. The number is so high it almost sounds like an exaggeration. But alas it’s not lol. I have a giant bruise on my butt to prove it.
As we got closer to the end, we started to turn into our happy selves again. We ended as we started, snapping pictures and full of smiles. As we made our way through the parking lot we felt amazing to have finished it, but we were just so focused on getting home that perhaps it didn’t hit us right away.
Once we were home and all cleaned up, we both chatted about how amazing we felt to have accomplished it. We both agreed that it was actually a lot of fun. I feel like it’s normal for (some) people to hate the work out while you’re doing it, but love it afterwards. Maybe this can be compared to that feeling?
Would i recommend it? Yes. But I would say to keep these tips in mind:
- Look into what the conditions are like and if there’s snow on the ground I would say make sure you have proper shoes.
- Take tons of water and lunch. We were starving by the time we got to the top and it was such a reward to sit and chow down on lunch while enjoying the view.
- Take your camera. The view is just breathtaking.
- Make sure you take your bug spray.
It is beautiful, a great work-out and fun with the right company. It’s worth it. St. Mark’s Summit is such a local gem.
My girlfriends and I started off our girls night out at West Oak in Yaletown. I walked in to meet my friends at a dimly lit restaurant with a sexy ambience. I loved the vibe. Service was great. Our waiter was attentive, personable and witty. We never went long without our cocktails being replenished. The Rosé Sangria was refreshing and delicious. My girls and I shared the Chinois Prawns. Yum! Easily my fave dish of the night. For dinner I ordered the lobster linguine. I was pleasantly surprised. I often like to order lobster pasta, but a lot of restaurants are quite cheap with the amount of lobster they put into the dishes. This wasn’t the case at West Oak. The linguine was delicious with hefty chunks of lobster throughout the dish. Lastly, we ordered the fresh baked cookies for dessert. Prior to coming here, I kept hearing how amazing the cookies were and how I could not leave without trying them. Although we were pretty full, we ordered them. Perhaps my expectations were too high because although they were very good, I didn’t think they lived up to the hype. I’ve had better. The great food and atmosphere contributed to a fun night with great company. I will definitely be back.
My hubby and I had pre-booked our zoom zipline from home before we arrived in Vegas. We chose the 10:30 p.m. time slot on one of the nights. We went over to Fremont Street about a half an hour early to check it out. It was fantastic and we made mental notes of all the things we would do after our zipline. We went over to check in and stand in line. We stood in the line for an hour and a half. That is a long time when you’ve pre-booked your ticket. I don’t understand the way this system works. Perhaps if you just spontaneously decided to do it then the line makes sense, but we chose a time that would work for us. We were getting irritated and annoyed. We made the decision to leave and lose out on our pre-payment (we were that annoyed) so they bumped us to the front of the line. The zipline was great fun, but really short. An hour and a half wait for a minute of zooming above a crowd. To be honest, even as cool as it was, i would not recommend it. By the time we were done, we were tired from just standing around for an hour and a half and a lot of the things we wanted to do afterwards got thrown out the window.
Just as a side note, even though I wasn’t a fan of the wait for the zipline, I would highly recommend that you go check out Fremont Street. It’s a must do in Vegas.