Vancouver, British Colombia seems to have it all: mountains drenched with evergreens, costal beauty and beaches, and a delicious amount of ethnic and linguistic diversity. I found myself excitedly debating weather to eavesdrop on the Indian family speaking Hindi or the mother talking to her son in High German. Vancouver also has an abundance of all the labels that I love: organic, locally grown, non-gmo, etc. (and it seems that with socialized health care in Canada it’s in the best interest of the government to back these health conscious movements).
Conscious, thoughtful, and creative and are words that came to mind during my time in Vancouver. Even at the grocery store, little things were not forgotten- the fresh goat cheese was not complete without a sprig of basil. Here’s what I packed into 2 full days:
Day 1: Markets, Boating, Thrifting, and Zen-ing Out
My mom and I started off our first day with a trip to the Public Market on Granville Island. Usually the quantity of items is what makes a market fascinating, but I was so impressed with the quality of this market.
We spend several hours admiring crafty, handmade items- from jewelry to scarves to dolls- and testing heavenly lavender lotions and coconut soaps made from local, natural ingredients. The market had an enticing assortment of high-quality chocolates, cheeses, oils, meats, seafood, and sweet treats. Kudos to the market for having obscure Asian fruits like mangosteen and rambutan!
Right outside the market is a pick-up point for the Aquabus, and how could we resist riding this charming little boat? We took a scenic 25 minute tour around False Creek which has a cool view of high-rises.
We spent the afternoon perusing thrift stores and home decor stores in the trendy neighborhood of Gastown. It’s known for its restaurants and eclectic shops- a combination of urban & upscale to chic & cheap.
The steam clock that was built in 1977 is an icon of Gastown, and tourists crowd around it every quarter hour to hear it steam as it sings.
I couldn’t pass up The Juice Truck when I saw it parked across from the steam clock; a blueberry-lavender smoothie just sounded too dang delicious. And it sooo was.
In late afternoon, we made our way to Sun Yat Sen Chinese Gardens in Chinatown, which was my favorite attraction in Vancouver. Our little Chinese tour guide talked a lot about ying and yang and gave us other background information necessary for appreciating the gardens on a much deeper level. (So don’t skip the free tour!) I felt so at peace amidst the handcrafted rock floors and weeping willows.
Day 2: Suspension Bridge, Stanley Park, Robson Street, and WEDDING!
We woke up early and headed to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which starts off with a lofty, long bridge (450 feet) swaying over a gorgeous canyon.
Once you’re safely to the other side, you can walk from tree to tree on the bridges that connect to eco-friendly tree platforms.
We finished with a vibrant view of the temperate rainforest on the cliffwalk- equal parts nerve-wracking and incredible!
Capilano Park is very close to the north end of Stanley Park. Starting at Prospect Point, we drove down the west side of Stanley Park stopping at Ferguson Point and Third Beach.
If we had more time, we would have loved to rent bikes! There were several bike rental shops near Stanley Park.
On Third Beach we watched several sea otters romp in the water. Despite the overcast weather, it was a popular day for wedding photoshoots on the beach.
We drove right into Robson Street and chose Korean Bibimbap for lunch. While Robson had a nice selection of ethnic shops and restaurants, I personally preferred the character of Gastown; Robson had more chain stores, which made it less appealing to me.
Then there’s the best part of my trip, and my reason for coming to Vancouver in the first place- Kate and Sean’s wedding! It was very surreal (and emotional) to see my good friends from Bangkok outside of the Thailand context.
Kate and Sean were married on a beautiful property in Port Moody (east of Vancouver). Never before have I seen a wedding so stunning and simple. And did I mention that there was a taco truck? That fact alone speaks volumes about their awesomeness.
After moving back from Bangkok, Kate and Sean are beginning their married life together in Vancouver, and I couldn’t be happier for this new chapter in their life (or more jealous of their location). Vancouver is such an ideal city, and I can’t wait to return, especially now that I have special travel friends who live here!
HUGE thanks to Kate and Sean for all their helpful itinerary suggestions and excellent restaurant recommendations. Where in the world will we meet next? <3.
Read Kate’s blog here for more about her life in Vancouver.