A few weeks ago, my family, including both sets of grandparents, took a trip to Asia to celebrate Christmas and New Years together. It was our first big family vacation in almost 10 years and my first time visiting Asia. We split our time by spending 4 days each in China, Singapore, and Hong Kong. We started our trip off in China, where we had a packed schedule of visiting distant family and going about fulfilling family obligations in Kaiping and Guangzhou. One of the highlights of visiting China was visiting the village where my paternal grandfather grew up, the house his father built was still standing, which according to my grandfather, looks like nothing has changed. We even discovered that there’s a neighborhood where the majority of Szetos were from. As we walked around both Kaiping and Guangzhou, I couldn’t help but overhear both sets of grandparents swapping stories about their childhoods, which was something I never heard before.
From China, we flew to Singapore, where we had more a laid-back schedule. Singapore’s hot and humid weather compared to China’s mild weather took some getting used to, but I was so glad to not be wearing a winter coat in December. If you’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians (if you haven’t, please go watch it!), you’ve definitely seen some parts of Singapore throughout the movie. Lindsay and I wanted to visit some of locations of the movie and see what they were all about. As soon as we got into the taxi from the airport, our taxi driver was already recommending places for us to visit and things to do. They told us to skip the restaurants and instead get all of our meals from hawker food centers, which are basically large open air food courts with rows of food stalls specializing in one or two dishes. Fun fact: Singapore is the only place in the world with Michelin starred food stalls. If you know Lindsay and I, we are huge foodies and we wanted to try everything the hawker stalls had to offer. We took a whole day to visit Singapore’s renowned zoos, they had 3 different parks lined up right next to each other. The Night Safari was the most unique zoo I’ve ever been to because they’re only open in the evenings and it’s a whole different world to view how the animals behave when the sun goes down. On our last night in Singapore, we went to the Gardens by the Bay to see two large domed gardens, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, before ending the evening with freshly grilled satay skewers.
For our last leg of the trip, we went from Singapore to Hong Kong. I was the only one on the trip who had never visited Hong Kong before. After spending the last few days in Singapore, the bustling and populated metropolis of Hong Kong was a huge shock. Lindsay and I spent the majority of our time there, exploring the different street markets and taking advantage of the cheaper prices and no sales tax by shopping at malls. I didn’t plan for any specific photos throughout the trip except for this one, before the trip I knew I wanted a large panorama of Hong Kong in the early morning. One morning we woke up early to go up to Victoria Peak, I was getting nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get my photo because it was cloudy the whole time we were heading up to the peak, but thankfully the sun broke through just as we made it to the lookout. We finished the year and our trip by watching the fireworks display over Victoria Harbor.