If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

The Road To Hana, Maui’s Epic Drive.

The Road to Hana, Maui needs to be on your travel bucket list

Aloha!  If you read my blog, than you’re probably a travel addict with a travel bucket list a mile long. The Road to Hana needs to be at the top of that list if you haven’t already checked it off. What is the Road to Hana? It’s basically Hawaii’s answer to the scenic Highway 1 along the California Coast. Are you ready for this…quite possibly sacrilege coming from a California girl…but I think the Road to Hana surpasses Highway 1, making this Maui drive one of the most scenic drives in the world.

 

 

If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

 

Flight Attendant Tip: You’re going to need to get a rental car to get around the island and I highly recommend an SUV. Don’t forget, if you’re flight crew, check for discounts. I got an insane deal for five days and the guy at the counter was stunned. I call that a win. Anyways, make sure you get an SUV because on the Road to Hana, not all roads are paved. 🙂 You’ll see in one of my pictures below. It got quite rough and I’ve very glad we weren’t in a tiny convertible.

 

 

 

If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

 

Anywhere you want to stop along the Road to Hana, you can explore and hike back to a waterfall, you might have it to yourself if you want to swim around. Just be sure to bring bug spray. I recommend this one. The beauty of Hana is to stop along the way. That’s why I say at least a full day but up to three days depending on how many hikes you want to do.

 

Waterfalls along the Road to Hana

 

My absolute must-do hike on the road to Hana is the Bamboo hike. That’s what I call it, but there so many waterfalls on this hike I guess it should be called the Waterfall hike. 😉 The hike begins at the Seven Sacred Pools, several waterfalls that flow into each other and during certain seasons you can swim in. Keep on trekking up the path though and eventually you’ll get to a bamboo forest. It’s absolutely magical, like being in another world. Check out my pics if you need a little inspiration 😉 I wish I could fill this entire post with the bazillions of pictures I took.

 

The Road To Hana needs to be on your travel bucket list

 

The great thing about the Bamboo hike on the way up from The Seven Sacred Pools is that it’s a very easy hike. As you can see in the pictures, much of it is flat trekking. The incline (when there is one) is quite gradual. If you want to get close to the falls or swim in the pools (which is seasonal), make sure you wear a swimsuit or bring waterproof clothes. When I was there, no one was allowed to swim in the pools, so no cute bikini waterfall pics this time. Just a cheesy one of me with my jacket wrapped around my hips. 😉 I’m such a cool kid…I’ve even been known to travel with a fanny pack from time to time.

 

Hike back to this amazing waterfall on the Road to Hana.

 

The bamboo hike is just one of hundreds of possible stops along the road to Hana where you can hike, gaze, or simply fill your Instagram waterfall quota. If you’re an aviation nerd like me (or if you’re a flight crew on a layover) consider putting a visit to Charles Lindbergh’s grave on your Road To Hana pit stop list. The aviation legend (first solo flight across the Atlantic) loved Maui and wanted to be buried on the island. It took us forever to find the church (because it’s so small and there’s no signs), and once we did, we were astounded at how low key it was. I guess I thought there’d be a gigantic airplane sculpture or something. Instead, it was an incredibly non-descript grave. Lindbergh’s still got an amazing view though, and the tiny church and cemetery overlook the ocean.

 

 

Aviation addicts can visit Charles Lindrave in Maui, Hawaii

 

Flight Attendant Travel Tip: Start from Paia and drive toward Hana. Paia has an assortment of restaurants and a grocery store if you want to purchase picnic items or road trip food. I recommend that you not arrive too hungry to Hana as it is quite a sleepy town and I was not successful in finding good food there. No one wants a hangry road tripper. Since I had wanted to get an early start to the Road to Hana, we stayed a couple nights in an airbnb. *If you haven’t signed up yet, you can get $35 towards your next stay* Not familiar with Airbnb? No worries, check out my latest Airbnb post here about my wonderful stay in Paris, The Coolest Airbnb in Paris.

Tip #2. Start early and don’t even think about doing this drive after the sun goes down. Sight-seeing all the glorious flora on both sides of the road is what makes the trip so magical. Not only that, but some of the roads so get quite bumpy and treacherous. Not dangerous, but you definitely want 100% of your faculties. Diminished eyesight on unpaved roads isn’t something anyone wants to deal with on a vacation road trip.

Another tip: I mentioned this in my other Maui post, but when I’m on the island, I would be lost without this book. Especially if you’re doing the Road to Hana, bring a great book with you that will detail many of the waterfalls and beaches you are seeing on the drive and it will tell you exactly what mile markers to look for if you want to hike or pull over for a selfie. 🙂

Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook (Kindle Edition)


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Final Verdict The Luv Aviatrix on the Bamboo HIke along the Road to Hana

The winding road, lush jungle scenery, cascading waterfalls and turquoise ocean water make this drive incredibly unique. Throw in a rainbow every few miles and you’re experience the ultimate Hawaii vacation. The Road to Hana is the best of Maui. Stop wherever you like, hidden beaches, waterfall hikes, bamboo forests…the possibilities are endless on Maui. So get on a plane to OGG, rent a car and set out on the most amazing drive you’ll ever take, Maui’s Road to Hana.

So, have you done the Road to Hana? What were the highlights for you?

 

 

Haven’t been to Maui and done the Road to Hana yet? Put it on your travel bucket list and pin this image for later 🙂

 

The Rooad to Hana in Maui Hawaii is one of the most scenic drives in the world

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

Tokyo is for lovers…Sushi lovers!

I’ll never forget the first time I visited Japan. I wasn’t a flight attendant yet, I think I was eighteen, and I joined a family member on her Narita layover. I had a little over twenty four hours in Japan and in that time, my culinary desires were to have gyoza and teriyaki. When I think back, I cringe at this because I know how much I was missing out on. Although, I definitely was onto something regarding the idea of consuming as much gyoza as possible while in Japan. But at the time, I claimed to hate sea food. I know, sacrilege coming from a Seattle, girl. Perhaps because I grew up watching men toss around fish at the Pike Place Market, the thought of eating it just never did anything for me.

My culinary experiences in Japan greatly changed during my second visit. That fateful trip to Tokyo changed my life…and my taste buds…forever. Let me tell you how it happened.

My trip to Tokyo by way of NRT (Narita), started off grandly. I was able to get a seat, which for us standby folks is always a good sign. Of course, my Delta crew treated me like a rock star, which on a ten hour flight is so appreciated. I enjoyed cocktails, amazing food and four in-flight movies! Needless to say, I was sleepy, but pumped to explore Tokyo once again.

 

Luv Aviatrix goes to Tokyo via NRT

 

Yay, I’m back in Japan!

 

For this trip, I said that I was going to eat anything and be completely adventurous. Since Japan is an island, they obviously have amazing fresh fish and the Tsukiji Fish Market is famous world wide. So of course, it was my first stop. According to my travel guides, it’s important to get to the Tsukiji Fish Market nice and early. I didn’t necessarily need to see the first catches being brought in, so I didn’t show up before the sun, but I did plan on having an early lunch there and carousing most of the stands before any tourists showed up.

 

I was amazed at all the goods offered at the market, including fresh catches of squid, octopus, and fish I’d never even heard of. I was definitely inspired to pop into one of the Tsukiji Fish Market sushi shops. After all, if anyone could convert me into a sushi person, perhaps it would be Japan. I stepped inside a tiny establishment within the market and felt good about the number of locals that had already come inside to enjoy sushi. A conveyer belt wrapped around the tiny room with plates of beautifully crafted sushi and sashimi concoctions.

 

Tsukiji Fish Martket, The Luv Aviatrix's Guide to the best Sushi in Tokyo, Japan

 

Although nothing was in English, I decided to try everything, even if I didn’t know what it was! I decided my method was simple, grab the pretty sushi plates as they passed by. Although my Japanese was iffy at best, it didn’t matter because the Sushi house was self serve and even included spigots of tea at every station. Just being in this environment was super fun because I’d never eaten at a place like this before!

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Every plate of Sushi was so beautiful, it was obvious that the Sushi chefs took their time in creating these culinary masterpieces. The beauty in these dishes definitely made me feel brave to try new things and I quickly grabbed my first plate from the sushi belt.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to the best sushi in Tokyo, Japan

 

 

Since I had always been anti-sea food, I have no idea what fish were on my sushi plate. I was eager to taste one of the mini art pieces though and quickly discovered something…it was amazing! That’s right, I didn’t know what it was, but it was probably the most amazing thing I’d ever tasted. The sushi melted in my mouth as if it had never been whole. That’s how fresh this fish was. Utterly amazing. I was convinced. Sushi, so far, was amazing and I’d definitely be having more than one plate!

Flight Attendant Tip: Although I was a sushi newbie, Japan taught me that traditionally, you’re supposed to eat the entire sushi in one bite. I found this hard believe and impossible at first (there was a very unflattering photo to prove it), but I soon got the hang of it. I definitely understand that by consuming the sushi in one bite, all the flavors are absorbed at the same time. And because good sushi melts in your mouth, the large bite is rendered palatable quite quickly.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

It took all of my travel courage to take the above plate off the sushi belt, mainly because it had a face. But it was so unique to Japan, almost symbolic as a dish, I just had to. This little guys sacrifice wasn’t in vain and I salivated for moments after finishing this amazing dish, contemplating all I had been missing during my seafood-free life.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Above: I still don’t know what this is or what different things are in it…but it was amazing. A trend I noticed eating all this sushi is that every bite melted in my mouth. And despite all my preconceived notions, nothing tasted fishy. I was told later that fresh fish shouldn’t smell “fishy”.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Above: This plate ended up being my absolute favorite. The slight sear on top was like the icing on the cake, but um, for sushi. Since I was so Sushi illiterate, I had no idea until later that it was Unagi, also known as Eel! Who knew that this anti-sea food gal from the Pacific Northwest would go to Japan and get hooked on Eel? Not me, but to this day, my go-to date night dinner is Unagi from our local sushi joint. I <3 Unagi!

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

In all honesty, although Tokyo has converted me into a sushi lover, the above dish was the only one I didn’t love. I finished it, but the fish eggs were a bit salty for my taste. I definitely think if you’ve never tried them before, that you should. The texture is very interesting. They’re soft and squishy like Jell-O, but have a bit of a crunch as you bite into them.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

How Much Will it Cost?

You will be amazed when I tell you that even though this was the most amazing sushi I’ve ever had (and since my first visit I had sushi just about everywhere) the plates of sushi were about $1 US dollar each. Isn’t that amazing? How it works is that different colored plates equal different prices. At the time of my visit, plate started as low as .50 cents. That’s right, you can get one of those beautiful sushi plates pictured for less than a dollar! The most expensive plate I had was $2. That means that the Tsukiji Fish Market has sushi for every budget. Heck, I ate like a queen at this amazing place! Look at all those plates I went through and it was less than $10 USD!

 

For my fellow flight crew, it’s cheaper to fly to Tokyo (including zed fares) and eat at Tokyo’s fish market than to have sushi at some restaurants in the states. No joke, a similar plate to what I got in Tokyo would be $24 USD at Los Angeles Sushi house, Katsuya. For one person to eat there easily racks up to over $100 dollars, and you’ll leave hungry if you’re not rich and famous. On my budget, I can’t even afford to step in the door. For less than $100, flight crew can nonrev to Tokyo and take a train or bus to the Tsukiji fish market area of downtown Tokyo. Even if you need to purchase a zed fare, it’s usually not more than $6o round trip. So why not hop over to Tokyo for an amazing lunch as just fly back? I did 🙂

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

 Final Verdict:The Luv Aviatrix, a flight attendant, enjoys the Tsukiji Fish Market

Absolutely, anyone that visits Japan needs to visit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market and have sushi while you’re there. Even if you’re like me and think you hate sea food, when I finally gave it a chance, the fresh fish blew my mind. Sushi really is an art form in Japan. Although Tokyo has many different areas to explore, do not leave without experiences the Tsukiji Fish Market. You’ll feel like you’re in a different world! And isn’t that what traveling is for?

So, are you are a sushi addict or are you ready to be converted?

Happy Traveling

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to the best Sushi in Japan. The Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

 

Ready to plan your trip to Tokyo? My bookshelves would be empty without all my great travel books to get me ready!

 

 

Lonely Planet Tokyo (Travel Guide)


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Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan view from Pyramid of the Moon

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

Not far from Mexico City, travelers can climb one of the tallest pyramids in the world. If you’re the adventurous sort, and I know I am, you’ll get out of the city and head to the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan. Before you even arrive, you’ll see the giant Pyramid of the Sun in the distance. In my humble opinion, I think Mexico City is one of the most interesting cities in the world. Whenever I hear people say they are going to visit, I tell them that an excursion to Teotihuacan is a must. Whether you climb the pyramid or simply gaze at it, you’ll be transported to another era. An era of cacao, of gold, and of human sacrifice.

 

If you follow my blog you know I’m a flight attendant. I always wanted to be a flight attendant, but I still went to university to study subjects that I thought would be useful in my travels. This led me to major in cultural anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology. This is what gave birth to my obsession with ancient Olmec, Maya and Aztec civilization and I spent a summer backpacking around, adventuring to many of the ruins. I still have plenty of ancient cities on my list, but that summer I put a good dent in it. Teotihuacan, unlike some ruins, is very easily accessible.

 A Flight Attendants Guide to Teotihuacan Mexico

ng the Pyramids at Teotihuacan, Mexico

Teotihuacan, Getting There

By Bus, or By Bus Tour…That is the question. Some people argue that it’s better to take the bus on your own because it’s cheaper, with more time at the pyramids. This is certainly true, but I have to say, I did take a tour through a Mexico City hostel and it was incredibly memorable. Many of the bad reviews for the bus tour was the opposite of my experience and personally,  you get what you give in life. So let me tell you about my excursion.

 
Flight Attendant Tip: First of all, even if you’re not staying at a hostel, you can always get the same excursions, BUT CHEAPER, by purchasing from a hostel. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle…especially my ladies, I feel like the men actually enjoy it when we haggle with them. 🙂 My Spanish and smile have gotten me amazing discounts. In the states, I’m sure the same haggling would have gotten me throttled. My haggling is usually something like, “Oh bummer, my budget was (insert amount here). That’s too bad because I really wanted (insert object of affection here).” Haggling has never failed me and allowed me to remain budget doing excursions, buying jewelry, getting taxi rides, you name it. And don’t forget, you get more flies with honey, so always smile! I paid $15-20, which seems like a steal to me for transportation, a guide, a tequila workshop and snacks.

 

Pit stop: The tour I did stopped at a Tequila tasting shop and our group (of about 15) got to see how the ancient Mesoamericans used the Maguey plant and local flowers to make bright tapestries. They used the same plant to make drinking mescal. Tasting the mescal, and pulque was quite intense, made from the Maguey plant we were shown when we first arrived. I really liked the sweet Almedrado, an almond flavor tequila liquer. I’ve heard some people complain that it was a complete waste of time and that they hardly got any tequila. My group was there about fifteen minutes, so it definitely didn’t cost too much time at the pyramids. And let me say, they were verrrrrry generous with their pours. I didn’t want too get too tipsy before climbing one of the tallest pyramids in the world, so I was careful, but let me say that before we even left the Tequila place, some of the guys in our group were puking in the bushes. 😉 Caution: Tequila taste at your own risk.

 

Making textiles out of Maguey

The Ruins of Teotihuacan

The main event! Two giant pyramids, the Sun and the Moon tower above the Avenue of the Dead. Walk down the ancient road lined with rocky temples and you can’t help but feel like you’re in another world. Teotihuacan was once home to over 125,00 people and when you take a tour, you really gain incredible insight into the city, which even had technology such as ancient plumbing and aqueducts. This is absolutely incredible if you keep in mind that the Pyramid of the sun was believed to have built in the second century AD. I knew some from my collegiate studies, but really our guide was a wealth of information. That’s a great perk about tours, but also, I met memorable friends from Germany and Brazil that I still keep in touch with.

 

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun:

 

If you’re afraid of heights, this is not for you. I’m not afraid of heights and still on occasion I was like “What the hell am I doing!?!?!” The steps get pretty steep and towards the top it gets very windy! Once you get to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, you’ll be surrounded of course by fellow adventurers. If you check out my selfie below, you’ll notice the edge in ominously close and I can’t help but wonder if any tourists have fallen off the pyramid before. Eek!

 

Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan and climbing the Pyramid of the Sun

 

Flight Attendant Tip: If you want to feel a bit more like you’re the only one atop the mountain, head over to the Pyramid of the Moon and climb that one too! I did and was rewarded with a very peaceful rest at the top. Although the Pyramid of the Sun is more famous because it’s taller, the Pyramid of the Moon has an even better view because it rests at the very end of the Avenue of the Dead, offering a very dramatic view of Teotihuacan and the Pyramid of the Sun in the Distance. And if you’re sitting at the top and it feels like you’re just as high, it’s because you are. The Pyramid of the Moon sits on a higher landscape so although it’s not as tall, you still climb just as high.

 

Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan view from Pyramid of the Moon

Bottom Line:

Whether you’re a history lover, or just love a unique adventure, Teotihuacan is a must if you’re in the Mexico City area.

 

So, have you climbed a pyramid lately? If you did, were you deathly afraid or was it invigorating? For me, it was a little of both, but mostly amazing!

 

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

Ko Phi Phi Ley

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. Paradise or Overrated?

 

Koh Phi Phi

I am going to assert myself here (and get some backlash I’m sure) and state that Ko Phi Phi, Thailand is paradise! Feel free to disagree with me in the comment section. But for those of you less familiar with the Ko Phi Phi islands, let me give you the run down on one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.

 

Ko Phi Phi is actually made up of several islands, most famously Ko Phi Phi Ley and Ko Phi Phi Don. It’s been spelled many different ways. While I saw it spelled Koh Phi Phi more while I was in Thailand, it seems like most tourists spell it Ko Phi Phi, so for the sake of continuity, that’s how I’ll spell it throughout this post. For Thailand newbies, the “H” in Phi Phi is silent, same with other destinations in southern Thailand such as Phuket. It’s pronounced “Poo-ket”.

 

Ko Phi Phi Ley is the more famous island, known for Maya Bay, featured in the Leo Dicaprio movie, The Island. In the movie, a group of travelers set up a community on a secluded, perfect island…and the bay in indeed, majestic. See for yourself, my unfiltered pictures from my last visit.

 

 

Ko Phi Phi Ley

 

 

ko phi phi longboats

 

Looks perfect, right? Almost like I’m the only person on this amazing island…

Wrong!

 

 

Busy Kho Phi Phi Ley Thailand

I couldn’t even get a picture of the “Koh Phi Phi” sign without a speedo-wearing tourist! Tee-hee…

Tourists Maya Bay, Kho Phi Phi Ley Thailand

 

 

Too many tourists or is it travel bucket list destination?

 

This is where travelers have very distinct opinions about Ko Phi Phi’s Maya Bay. It’s amazingly beautiful, no one is disputing that, but is the influx or tourists too much to be able to appreciate that beauty? Personally, I don’t think so. As you can tell, it was very crowded, but not too insane that I couldn’t get many pictures without any other people in them. I’ll post one of my fav instagram shots below.

If you want to see this beautiful place for yourself, I think you just need to go into Maya Bay knowing there will be a TON of tourists. If you’re expecting that, you won’t be disappointed. You just have to take it for what it is, a stunning place that everyone wants to see. The good news is, in my humble opinion, that the tourists weren’t annoying. Everyone was there for the simple reason of enjoying the beauty of the bay. There are no cheesy bars or any gimmicks on the island. The draw is the crystalline, azure waters and the towering, lush mountains framing the bay.

The Luv Aviatrix in Ko Phi Ph, Thailandi
The Luv Aviatrix in Ko Phi Phi #NoFilter #MayaBay #Thailand

Do I think it needs to be on your travel bucket list? No. I think that the islands of South Thailand DO need to be on your travel bucket list, but not these islands specifically because of the large amount of tourists. I would actually avoid Phuket and the touristy islands if you only have a short amount of time or will only be going to Thailand once. Visit the southern isles of Thailand for the more relaxed beauty if you’re trying to check off items on your bucket list.

 

In a nutshell: Girls trip, yeah visit chaotic, but fun Phuket and Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi. Honeymoon, try a more secluded island such as Krabi, Ko Samui, Ko Tao or any of the smaller more off the beaten path islands in the gorgeous southern waters.

Happy Traveling!

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix