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DAY DREAMING IN DA NANG


Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

After many years, I finally visited Da Nang, a coastal city in central Vietnam well-known for its sandy beaches and rich history. As a first-timer, I didn't know what to expect, but as far as I was told by the non-Vietnamese travelers, this place would take your heart away. So I packed my back, booked a flight, reserved a hotel and started counting down to the trip. 

After a two-hour flight from Singapore, I was here. What greeted me was this stunning mountain range and an endless ocean view. The seagulls came in the picture as a bonus. Just walking around the Pham Van Dong Park, watching the seagulls while listening to the sound of waves was so relaxing. I thought I was daydreaming. 

If you plan to visit Da Nang, I highly recommend you to put this place on your to-visit list. 

Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

Crystal Phuong- Travel Blogger- Day Dreaming in Da Nang

Thank you so much for reading! 

::Shop my outfit here::
Privacy Please maxi dress- Thanks to Revolve 
Miu Miu slingback pumps- Similar here
Valentino handbag- More affordable choices here
Tom Ford sunglasses- Similar here




Crystal Phuong
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4 DAYS IN TAIWAN


Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Taipei city

In August last year, I visited Taiwan, a small island nation east of China with modern cities, traditional Chinese temples, beautiful hot spring resorts, and dramatic mountains. My first trip to Taiwan was in 2013 and it was great. But this time, it was even better as I had 2 awesome planners (Sarah & Ken) with me on this trip. Everything was well arranged from the airport pickup to hotel arrangements, what to do, where to go, during our 4 days there. I thought I should share with you in case you are planning a trip to Taiwan for the first time. Thank me later at the end of this post! You're welcome.

We arrived in Taipei city on Friday evening, checked into the Landis Taipei Hotel, and quickly went for dinner. We spent only 1 night in Taipei. The next morning, we woke up at 5am, had breakfast, and by the time we walked back to our hotel, our private driver was already there waiting for us.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- View from Hualien Farglory Hotel

A few hours drive later, we arrived in Hualien, a home to several world-class scenic attractions located on the eastern coast of Taiwan. We quickly checked into Farglory Hualien, a 381-room hotel with a stunning view of the mountain on one side and a breathtaking sea view on the other.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Hualien Farglory Hotel room

We spent 2 nights here and on the second day, we experienced a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in the early morning. While Ken felt the room was shaking, I was still sleeping like a baby. All I heard was his voice "I think there was an earthquake". I replied "OK" and carried on dreaming about something beautiful (not about an earthquake of course). In case you don't know, the average number of earthquakes in Taiwan is approximately 2,200 per year, of which 214 can be felt. That's crazy! 

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- View from Ch'ing Shui Cliff

Anyway, here is our itinerary of the day.

1. Ch'ing Shui Cliff

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Ch'ing Shui Cliff

If you are visiting Hualien, you definitely should visit Ch'ing Shui Cliff. It's one of the Eight Wonders of Taiwan. This is a 21-kilometer coastal cliff with the tallest peak, Qingshui Mountain, rises 2408 meters directly from Pacific Ocean. The view here will blow your mind.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Swallow Grotto Trail

2. Swallow Grotto Trail

From Ch'ing Shui Cliff, our private driver took us to Swallow Grotto Trail along the Central Cross-Island Highway. It's considered the finest section of the entire Taroko Gorge with natural sinkholes, stunning rock formations, and spectacular scenery. It's truly heaven on earth.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Walking under the rock in Swallow Grotto Trail

It looks unreal, doesn't it? That's how beautiful Taroko National Park is.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Swallow Grotto Trail

3. Shakadang Trail

Shakadang Trail was our next destination on the list to visit. This place is well known as "Mysterious Valley Trail" for its crystal-clear turquoise water and stunning scenery. No swimming allowed though, but it's safe and easy to walk. If you love walking, jogging, and exercising, you'll enjoy it very much.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Shakadang Trail

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Shakadang Trail

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Taroko National Park

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Taroko National Park

4. Eternal Springs Shrine

We stopped at Eternal Springs Shrine on our way back as James, our private driver, mentioned that this shrine is one of the most famous scenic spots in Taroko National Park. Besides, the story we heard from James about 212 workers who died during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway makes this place worth visiting. 

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Eternal Spring in Taroko National Park

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Eternal Spring

A long journey became less tiring with an ocean view on the right

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Ocean drive

and a mountain view on the left.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Mountain view from Jiufen

Once in awhile, we just had to stop for a quick photo and soak in the fresh air.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Ocean drive

5. Jiufen

On day 3, we decided to visit Jiufen, a popular tourist area with great views, historical market streets, and good food. The name Jiufen came from the Qing Dynasty, where there were only nine families in this village. They requested "nine portions" of supplies every time shipments arrived from town. Jiufen in Chinese means "nine portions" in English by the way.

If you are a food lover, you'll definitely love this place. Tiny streets filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, and food stores that sell varieties of Taiwanese products. Even if you are not into snacking or food tasting, it's still worth visiting.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- View from JiuFen

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Day in JiuFen

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Ice cream sandwich

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Beautiful temple in Jiufen

A beautiful temple in a corner of Jiufen.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- View of Jiufen

6. Ximending

Ximending is a famous shopping district that you shouldn't skip if you are a shopaholic like me. My first time visiting Ximending, I went crazy with shopping. This time, I didn't shop much. I was more interested in walking along the busy streets, hopping into a cafe, and watching local people walking by. It's so therapeutic.

We were just wandering the streets, having no specific place to stop in mind. The only time we stopped was when we saw a cute dessert and coffee shop. As usual, there is always time for dessert and coffee.

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Wandering in Ximending

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Street view in Ximending

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Taipei city

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Architect in Taipei

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Fruity dessert

7. Taipei 101

No trip to Taipei would be complete without a visit to Taipei 101, a 508 meter (1666 ft) tall skyscraper in Xinyi District of Taipei city. It was the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010 until the Burj Khalifa, Dubai took its crown. (Read my blog posts about Dubai trip here and here).

Once you are at this place, purchase a ticket on the 5th floor of the Taipei 101 Shopping Mall. It'll take you to the observation decks on the 88th and 89th floors. The queue at the ticket counter might be long, but I can guarantee you, the view up there is a real treat to the eyes. Don't miss it!

Travel with Crystal- 4 days in Taiwan- Taipei at night

There you have it, a full list of what to do in Taipei for 4 days. I wish I could take more photos, but this blog entry is already long enough with almost 30 pictures and a video included. Hope it comes in handy when you are planning for your first trip to this beautiful country. 

Thank you so much for reading! 

Crystal Phuong
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LAID BACK IN TAIWAN


Travel with Crystal- Laid Back in Taiwan

Some time in mid of 2016, I made a short trip back to Taiwan. It has been 3 years since my first visit. The first trip to this beautiful country was in 2013. It was also the last time that I went on a holiday with a bunch of people (15 of them probably). It was fun, but it was also tiring as we were constantly on the go from one place to another. If you are like me, afraid of burning yourself out with a full itinerary "recommended" by a tour agency from the early morning to the late evening, you'd be better off planning your own trip. 

When my boyfriend and I travel, we are very laid back. We will pick one or two places to visit or things to do in a day and as soon as we cross that item off our to-do list, we pretty much go with the flow. That's what happened when we visited Taiwan. I'll share more details on what we did and where we went in another travel post. For now, here are just some photos of me, wandering the streets in Xi Men Ting at the end of our trip. 

No particular destination in mind. Just walked and enjoyed Taipei as much as I could. It's so incredible to see the familiar places with fresh eyes. 

Travel with Crystal- Streetstyle in Taiwan

Travel with Crystal- Laid Back in Taiwan

Travel with Crystal- Laid Back in Taiwan

Travel with Crystal- Laid Back in Taiwan

Travel with Crystal- Laid Back in Taiwan

Travel with Crystal- Laid Back in Taiwan

Travel with Crystal- Laid Back in Taiwan

Thank you so much for reading! 

::Outfit::
Cropped denim jacket- Thanks to Esprit
Mugler sunglasses- Similar here
Forever New culottes- Similar here
Jeffrey Campbell gladiator sandals
Vintage deep V-neck top- Similar here
Crystal Phuong
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FALL FOR KIMORA LEE SIMMONS


Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 4

When I was much younger, I always reminded myself to be strong, be independent, and be ambitious. Living abroad alone taught me many valuable lessons. It put me through many survival tests that I had never imagined. Being bullied, cheated, and taken for granted. I had "tasted" them all. I told myself not to cry because crying only showed the weaknesses. I chose to wear a biker leather jacket over a dress to suit my strong personality. I aways looked like I was ready for a battle. 

As I grow older, I've learned that being strong is never about winning. It's about learning a lesson from my failures and mistakes and never give up. I learned how to be positive in the most negative situation. I'm grateful for everything I have in life. I remind myself to always treat people with respect and kindness. By focusing on improving myself instead of worrying about how people think of me, I become a much happier person. 

My definition of a "strong woman" has changed since then. 

A strong woman to me is someone who can play multiple roles in her life and be good at what she does. She knows what she wants and how to achieve her goals. She is passionate and compassionate. She radiates happiness and positivity everywhere she goes. Every time I discover a brand that caters to confident and strong women. I'm instantly connected. Kimora Lee Simmons is one of those brands. Like I mentioned in the first blog post, KLS, designed by Kimora Lee Simmons herself, is a fashion brand for the women who go places. KLS clothes not only unleash the beauty and confidence in any woman but also help her to look polished at any event throughout the day. This bomber jacket from KLS Fall Winter 2016 is an example. I put it on and I was head over heels in love with it. I can't find any reason why you shouldn't give it a try. 

Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 2

Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket

Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 3

Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 5


Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 6

Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 7

Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 8

Crystal Phuong x Kimora Lee Simmons: Bomber jacket 9

Thank you so much for reading! 


::Outfit::
Zara flare pants- Similar here
Carolina Herrera bracelet
Nasty Gal chiffon top (old)- Similar here
Crystal Phuong
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