Fun Times in Newport, Rhode Island
Earlier this month we took a trip to the East Coast for a family wedding in New Hampshire. We were looking to explore some new-to-us places and landed on a visit to Newport, Rhode Island for a few days. Our time there was short so we packed in a few key activities that would allow us to see the best of the best.
Cliff Walk: Along the eastern shore of Newport lies a 3.5 mile stretch of beautiful coastal views and a handful of mansions that show the architectural historical side of Newport’s Gilded Age. If you have more time than we did you can tour the inside of these amazing mansions! The Breakers was my favorite and looked absolutely breathtaking. I’d recommend grabbing a morning coffee to-go and leisurely walking the Cliff Walk while taking in the views. On the morning of our walk there was barely a cloud in the sky with a slight coastal breeze – it was perfect.
A Sailing Adventure: Experiencing Newport from a sailboat just seemed like the quintessential New England adventure, so of course I was all about this! There are multiple options for sailing adventures in town that offer similar experience at roughly the same price points. We landed on a morning sail with Sailing Excursions on the Adirondack II and LOVED them. It was quite the adventure as it was a windy day! Book your trip online in advance as a lot of the times sold out.
Our only regret in Newport is that we didn’t have more time to explore! Everything about this little place was just beyond adorable. The houses, the wharf, the seafood… it truly was an exceptional little town and I’d love to spend more time here in years to come.
A Travel Guide to Ao Nang, Thailand
After some time in Chiang Mai we hopped on a 2-hour flight to Ao Nang in Southern Thailand. When we arrived at the airport we snagged a shuttle heading in the direction of our hotel. The whole process ended up being an absolute nightmare. The transportation system at the Krabi airport was extremely disorganized. They had us wait in a line, board a shuttle with our luggage, then un-boarded us to wait in another line, board a different shuttle and cross your fingers you’re in the right spot. The shuttle driver we ended up with didn’t slow down for speed bumps or corners or anything actually. Luke and I looked at each other and thought this could possibly be our last night on earth, haha, so dramatic. We made it to our hotel a few hours later than expected, but we were off the shuttle so we were happy!
We spent the next four days in Ao Nang with a goal of ultimate relaxation. While I wouldn’t call our time in Ao Nang relaxing… the town was busy, vibrant and bustling! Not quite what we thought it was going to be, but we still loved our time there nonetheless.
We stayed at the Kokotel Krabi Oasis and were able to walk everywhere that we wanted to go. The hotel offered free shuttles to the beach and back, which was a nice perk. They also offered free breakfast every morning that we definitely took advantage of.
Upon arrival in Ao Nang our plans were loose. We knew we wanted to take a boat to the islands and to Railay Beach. Other than that, we just wanted to take it easy and see where the days led us.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Ao Nang itinerary!
Our recommended itinerary for four days in Ao Nang:
Breakfast in town
Walk up and down the main street checking out the restaurants and shops
Grab a fresh fruit shake from a sidewalk stand (we loved the banana shakes and had them daily!)
Dinner at Kodam Kitchen (make reservations as the place fills up quick)
Breakfast in town
Take a speedboat trip to the Hong Islands (there are tour companies everywhere. we used this tour with My Thailand Tours and loved them – they’ll pick up/drop off at your hotel!)
Relax with Thai massages in town before dinner
Dinner at the Ao Nang Night Market
Breakfast in town
Take a long tail boat to Railay Beach and spend a few hours sunbathing, swimming or kayaking (there are kiosks around town to purchase long tail boat tickets to take you to Railay Beach and back)
Dinner at The Hilltop (make reservations and they’ll pick up/drop off at your hotel!
Breakfast in town
Repeat anything above that you loved!
Visit the Tiger Cave Temple
Visit the Phi Phi Islands
A Travel Guide to Chiang Mai, Thailand
After a few days in Bangkok we boarded a quick 1-hour flight to the Northern Thailand town of Chiang Mai. Now this place was more our style (#betterthanbangkok)! We arrived at the tiny Chiang Mai airport and ordered a Grab to our AirBnb. Grab is similar to Lyft/Uber, although way more affordable in Thailand than back home. A Grab ride from the airport to our hotel was roughly 170 Thai Baht ($5.30 USD).
Our AirBnb was located in the “West End” area of the city known as Nimman. We could not have loved the location more! We were walking distance from amazing restaurants, coffee shops and the Old City. Speaking of the Old City… it’s a section of Chiang Mai that is square-shaped and surrounded by a moat. Yes, a moat. How cool is that?! We found Chiang Mai to be very walkable and easy to navigate. We spent a day exploring the temples in the Old City and just taking in the sights – its such an eclectic and beautiful city.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Chiang Mai itinerary!
Breakfast at Bird’s Nest Cafe
Explore the Old City
Lunch at Khao Soi Arak
Think Park Night Market (we came across this on our first night and had SO MUCH fun here – it’s a great place to try a few different food stands, shop and hit up a bar)
Breakfast at SS1254372 Cafe
Hike the Monk’s Trail to explore Wat Pho Lat
Explore around the Chiang Mai Riverside (Ping River)
Dinner at David’s Kitchen (we had an incredible meal here to celebrate Luke’s birthday)
Coffee at RISTR8TO (Chiang Mai has amazing coffee everywhere – RISTR8TO blew us away!)
Explore the Nimman neighborhood
Lunch at Dash
Drinks at a rooftop bar (we visited Yayee and Rise – we tried to visit Sala Lanna but it was empty (??) and Myst Maya but we didn’t love that place at all)
Dinner and shopping at the Night Market(s)
A Travel Guide to Bangkok, Thailand
Actually getting to Bangkok was one gigantic disaster. We started our journey with a delayed flight that forced a missed connection. We got rebooked on a different airline, but that flight was also delayed, causing us to yet again miss another connection. We got bumped on all our flights and found ourselves sitting on the floor at the Sea-Tac airport with nothing booked. At one point when the airline we were supposed to be flying on refused to help us out, Luke and I looked at each other at a loss for words. We are stuck at the airport with no flight to get on. We eventually sorted out logistics and with a total re-route, found ourselves headed in the right direction. We would arrive in Bangkok 24 hours behind schedule. We found two silver linings though! Our first silver lining was that we had a 7-hour layover in San Francisco and we were able to escape the airport to try a new brewery. We also ran into my sister who happened to be on a connecting flight there at the same time. What luck?! After San Francisco our second silver lining was a 12-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. We had a few hours to explore a new-to-us city and try all the Korean street food.
When we arrived at Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and made our way to catch a taxi at Ground Transportation. You wait in a queue for a taxi and check in at a kiosk. When your number comes up, you walk to a parking spot with your corresponding number to catch your taxi. The cost was roughly 600 Thai Baht ($19 USD). There might have been a cheaper option into town, but it was late and we were exhausted after so many layovers. We wanted the easiest and most straight forward means of transportation.
By the time we ended up in Bangkok we had almost two full days to explore and that ended up being enough for us. I’m glad that we got to experience the city, it just wasn’t really our style in the end. Bangkok is a sprawling city filled with a lot of people and a lot of garbage and pollution. In a single word I would call Bangkok chaos. When we walked the streets of Chinatown I couldn’t believe my eyes… there was just so. much. stuff. Think any kind of trinket, knock-off item, toys, accessories, etc. You name it, it was there in excess. On the positive side, the temples were beyond beautiful, the food was incredible and the public water taxi was a fun experience.
We stayed at the Chillax Heritage Hotel and had a great experience. When we arrived on our first night we went walking in search of dinner and drinks. We found a lively street behind the hotel and enjoyed a few beers and dinner at a restaurant that offered outdoor seating (as we found most restaurants offer). We were also within walking distance of Khao San Road, which was such a fun street! If we had more time in the city I could see us having dinner and listening to live music there.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Bangkok itinerary!
Our recommended itinerary for two days in Bangkok:
A trip to the edge of the continent
A few weekends back Luke and I had plans to trade in the vehicle we’ve been leasing for the past three years. We were trading in our Ford Escape compact SUV for a new Honda Accord sedan. While we loved having an SUV, we found that we didn’t need all the extra room and the gas mileage was honestly not good. We averaged 15 mpg, yikes! The day before our trade-in we decided to take the Escape on one last adventure… We took a spontaneous road trip to the Oregon Coast to Cannon Beach (my favorite beach town in Oregon). That day ended up being one of the nicest days I’ve ever experienced at the coast and I’ve been visiting for nearly my entire life. It was a beautiful sunny day and we didn’t even bring jackets with us. Keep in mind, it’s January! Oregon weather really surprises you every now and then.
A Travel Guide to Naxos, Greece
The last stop on our Greek holiday was the island of Naxos. When we were researching what islands to visit in Greece we happened to watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: The Greek Islands. It’s because of Anthony Bourdain that we decided to spend 5 days on this less-than-popular island. We were craving some serious down-time, relaxation and local living. Naxos seemed like the perfect place that checked all of our boxes. I think we can both agree that Naxos was likely our favorite portion of this trip, in large part to its laid-back vibe, lack of tourists and overall affordability.
We booked tickets on the Blue Star Ferry from Santorini to Naxos for about 40€/a person. The ferry ride was relatively quick, only 2.5 hours. When we arrived in Naxos we walked right off the boat and right into the main area of town. No other transportation needed! We walked right up to our studio, got checked in, and were ready to start exploring. Our studio in Naxos couldn’t have been more perfect. It was walking distance to everything, had a view of the water and we found out there was a free breakfast every morning at their cafe across the street. Plus it was about 70€/a night! We instantly fell in love with Naxos. There was a vibe you picked up on right away, you just knew this place was going to be chill. We took the local bus everywhere, just like Santorini. You can rent a car or ATV, it appears we like local busses though.
Bus Tip: Unlike Santorini where you can purchase bus tickets directly on the bus, you have to purchase bus tickets in advance on Naxos – either through the main Bus Station or in a local market.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Naxos itinerary
Our recommended itinerary for four – five days on Naxos:
Breakfast in town
Wander around Old Town Naxos and get lost in the streets
Take the local bus to Plaka Beach for the afternoon
Lunch at a beach restaurant near Plaka Beach
Dinner at Meze 2
Drinks at Gemma
Breakfast in town
Take the local bus to the villages of central Naxos (Filoti and Chalki)
Lunch at Duetto in Filoti (the best lunch of the entire trip!)
Kitron tasting at Vallindras Kitron Distillery in Chalki
Dinner at Taverna Kastro
Drinks at Rum Bar or Like Home Bar (both have water views!)
Take an all-day trip on a Catamaran with Naxos Yachting
Dinner at To Spitiko
Visit the Temple of Apollo at sunrise
Breakfast in town
Dinner at Metaxi Mas
Breakfast in town
Take the local bus to Agia Anna Beach
Lunch at a beach restaurant near Agia Anna Beach
Visit the Temple of Apollo at sunset
Dinner at Kozi
We’re a bit light on the food recommendations as we had breakfast at our hotel every morning and we picked up gyro pitas and souvlaki pitas at small shops along the way for under 3€. We firmly believe that the majority of the restaurants on Naxos are amazing. Walk around and find a place that speaks to you, you won’t be disappointed with the food here!
A Travel Guide to Santorini, Greece
After a few days exploring Athens we hopped on an evening flight from Athens International Airport to Santorini International Airport. We flew Ryan Air (hello, cheap airfare!) and had a bit of a flight delay, arriving in Santorini close to 1:00am. Thankfully we had transportation arranged through Ersi Villas (where we stayed in Fira) so we didn’t have to worry about finding a ride in the early hours of the morning. Our driver was kind enough to point out all the important information like restaurants, laundry, bus stops, etc… the only issue is that it was dark and the roads were winding, so we couldn’t get our bearings and everything seemed so far away. When we woke up the next morning and met with our villa manager, he directed us where to go and we were pleasantly surprised to learn that everything in Fira was no more than a 10 minute walk. Whew!
We chose to stay in Fira (the capitol of Santorini) because of its central location on the island. From Fira you could hop on a bus at the Fira Central Bus Station and get anywhere on the island in about 20 to 30 minutes for 1.80€ to 2.50€/per person each way. We noticed that a lot of visitors rented ATV’s to get around the island, which looked like a ton of fun!
Before arriving in Santorini we received a lot of feedback from friends and co-workers that had visited the island and the reviews were definitely mixed. We were surprised to learn that a lot of people didn’t particularly care for Santorini (what?!?). All of the feedback was that it was overrated and overcrowded. While we did find Oia to be especially overcrowded, the rest of the island was very pleasant. We visited in May, before tourist season (tourist season is mid-June to September) and believe this was definitely in our favor. We couldn’t have been happier with our time on Santorini – it truly is one of the most beautiful places our eyes have ever seen! We would hands down recommend visiting, just make sure you do so before all the tourists arrive.
Bus Tip: you take the bus from Fira to Oia or Kamari Beach (or anywhere else for that matter) start your bus journey from the Fira Central Bus Station in town. We made the mistake of picking up the bus not far from our villa then having to stop at the bus station and pay for another bus to our destination. Starting your journey at the Central Bus Station ensures that you don’t double pay. Also, you pay when you get on the bus, no ticket needed in advance.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Santorini itinerary
Our recommended itinerary for three days on Santorini:
A Travel Guide to Athens, Greece
When we booked our trip to Greece the first thing we had on our minds was what islands to visit. We envisioned this trip to be relaxing and peaceful, haha. We knew we’d have to start and end in Athens for logistical reasons and to get the best flight deals. We spent two and a half days in Athens at the beginning of the trip and a half day at the end of the trip. I have to say, Athens was my jam! I was extremely surprised at how much I loved this city. It’s old, gritty, full of graffiti, friendly locals and amazing food and culture. I most definitely see myself re-visiting Athens again in the future.
We arrived at Athens International Airport mid-morning, collected our luggage and followed the signs to the metro station. We purchased two one-way tickets from a ticket machine for 10€/each into the city center. We rode the metro for approximately an hour before we arrived at our destination, the Monastiraki stop. It was quite an easy process overall! We located our AirBnb, got settled and took on Athens by foot – jet lag or not! Speaking of our AirBnb, we couldn’t have been happier with the space and the location. It was beyond affordable and centrally located so you can walk to just about anything in the city.
Now for the fun part, all the photos! I had a blast taking a million (okay more like a few hundred) photos of everything in sight. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to visit this one-of-a-kind city.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Athens itinerary!
Our recommended itinerary for two days in Athens:
Dinner at Ergon