New York City

New York City – Things to Do

New York City

New York City, big apple, the city that never sleeps. According to Wikipedia NYC is the most densely populated city in United States. Home to the United Nations, center for international diplomacy and where Statue of Liberty is. It is also the home to 2 of the world largest stock exchange. A very diverse and vibrant metropolitan city.

Below are a couple of activities I did while I was in the city.

1. M&M’s World

M&M’s World is located in Times Square. The store front is decorated with huge billboard and brightly coloured “chocolates”. A all-time favourite candy store to all children and children-alike. A must go-to place when visiting Times Square.

You will be greeted with a gigantic M&M character once you stepped in. Consistent with its chocolate colour theme the store was decorated in rainbow colours. A feel good, happy place. Mural on the wall depicts the humble beginning of the cartoon characters and how the characters evolved.

If you looking for souvenirs you will not be disappointed in M&M’s World. The store is packed with merchandise and memorabilia like magnets, keychains, t-shirts and plushies.

Here’s a quick tour of the store.

The coolest thing and the best souvenir in my opinion is to personalise your M&M’s chocolates.

The final product, a bag of  M&M’s chocolates with customised text and designs printed on it.

2. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

Treasure hunting when i’m in overseas is always fun. I enjoy browsing and going through items from the by-gone era, clothes worn by the military personnel, 70s and 80s shoes and bags which make a come back.

3. High Line

An former railway track which has been given a new lease of life – greenway which cuts through the downtown district spanning some 2.33 kilometers in the city center. A innovative way to bring greenery and parks in an urban city.

4. Chelsea Market

And you can pop-by the Chelsea Market to check out the fresh produce as you walk along the High Line.

5. Top of the Rock 

A place you must go! The view is spectacular. Day view of the city is very different from the nights. As you can see buildings are brightly lighted with neocolours and from the digital screens in Times Square.

Do note, you have to book a time slot after buying the tickets. Don’t expect to see sunset when you buy your tickets at 5pm, the earliest time for you to get up might be 10pm.

It has been a fun 2 days exploring NYC and to do some shoppings. I would have to say the weather in the city is crazy! It was clear night sky when i went up to the Rockefeller Center and snowing the next morning.

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Paris Paris Paris!!! Day 2

 

Palace of Versailles

Other than Louvre, Palace of Versailles is the most visited place in Paris. When i mean most visited i kid you not, loads and loads of coaches packed with Chinese visitors will pack these places. If you want to have a good tour in the area be the first few to be at the gate waiting for it to open.  The advantages to be an early bird:

  1. You get to avoid the long queue
  2. Touring the place at a leisure/comfortable pace without having someone to hurry you
  3. Less noisy
  4. Toilets are spanking clean. Not that i’m very particular about cleanliness, the place can get very awful after the many tour groups
  5. The entire estate comprises of the Palace, gardens and Marie-Antoinette’s estate

Give yourself 4-5 hours to complete the entire estate.

You can get the details on how to get there in this page.

Gardens of Versailles

The gardens cover some 800 hectares of land and to maintain it is no easy feat. The construction of this gardens was under the instructions of Louis XIV. It was carefully managed under the King’s directions. Within the park, there are water fountains, grand canal and water garden.

Marie-Antoinette’s Estate

Located at a corner of the estate is Marie-Antoinette’s. A getaway place for Queen Marie-Antoniette from the Palace. What’s interesting in this estate is the Queen’s Hamlet, a mockup village around an artificial lake.

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle was a royal chapel. It was constructed to house the relics of Christ which includes the famous Crown of Thorns. And it is prime example of a gothic architecture style. What’s stunting in this chapel is the row of tall stained glass windows. Magnificent!

Conciergerie

If you’re visiting Sainte-Chapelle you might want to consider to swing by Conciergerie, located just next to the chapel. It was a royal prison. This building played an important part in the history of France.

If you want to understand the history of France and how the French revolution came about take a tour in Conciergerie it will provide you an overview of the sequence of events which led this country to behead their monarchy and became a republic.

 

Centre Pompidou

This industrial looking building is both a public library and museum which has the largest collection of modern art in Europe.

Paris Paris Paris!!! – Day 1

After doing a couple of weeks of research on the internet through Youtube channels and reading blogs and travel guides. Here’s my itinerary…

Museums hopping

I landed Paris at 6am in the morning. After clearing the custom and collected my luggage I left the airport at about 7:30am which is according to plan. And the Train ride from the airport to the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame took about 45min, I was at my hotel at about 8:30am. Perfect! That gives me ample time to start using my 2 days Paris museum pass.

This pass gives you unlimited access to all the major museums in Paris including Versailles. You can buy them online and get them to mail it to you (at a cost) or at the airport, which opens at 7:30am.

Louvre

First stop, Louvre museum. This museum is HUGE… Honestly, to really appreciate all the art work and taking leisure time to view will take about 2 days. I’m not kidding. The place is massive and the art works and exhibits span across 4 or 5 floors. The size of each floor is about a few football fields! They have a great collections of art work from the different period, sculptures and Egyptian artifacts. For the art lovers this is a place which you have to go. Not forgetting the famous Mona Lisa painting resides here.

 

Musée d’Orsay

Before it became a museum it used to be a train station. Constructed just in time for the Paris exposition in the 1900 to bring visitors to the city. However, the soot from the trains polluted the city and the surrounding area. It was too costly to clean and maintain the civic center. The train station was subsequently close down and left abandon for a long period of time before it reopened in 1986.

Musée d’Orsay holds mainly French artists, so if you are fan of Monet, Renoir and Gauguin then you’re in the right museum.

Walking those 2 museums took a beating of me. Not forgetting the jet-lagged from the 13 hours flight from Asia took a toll out of me. I was flat out by 3pm. Time to head back to the hotel to check-in and rest.