16 places I traveled to in 2016

In terms of travel, 2015 was tough to beat. This year included traveling to Africa for work, planning a group trip to Peru, and returning to Paris on my annual another solo trip. A new job even led to a few opportunities for business travel. Five continents, seven countries, and 40 flights later, 2016 was quite an adventure.

1. Tokyo

“Hey mom, do you want to go to Japan in three days?” It was her first trip outside of the U.S. and Canada! We ate a lot of ramen and sushi as soon as we got there.

tokyo ramen

2. Kyoto

Beautiful temples, the bamboo park, Fushimi Inari Shrine, and my squad at the Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto is my favorite city in Japan.

arashiyama bamboo park

arashiyama bamboo park

3. Hakone

Hello, Mount Fuji! What a view from the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) en route to Hakone’s hot springs.

mt. fuji - lesley siu

4. Chicago

Is your first trip to the windy city complete without this picture?

chicago - lesley siu

5. Honolulu

My annual trip to the homeland included a quick hike to Manoa Falls.

manoa falls - lesley siu

6. Malawi

A visit to the “warm heart of Africa” and fulfilling my professional goal of Snapchatting traveling abroad for work. Here’s the 5:30 a.m. sunrise at Lake Malawi.

lake malawi

7. Amsterdam

When you have a long layover here, you go into the city on a quest for stroopwafels.

amsterdam - lesley siu

8. Las Vegas

My favorite part was renting a car and driving out to Red Rock Canyon.

las vegas red rock canyon - places traveled 2016

9. Lima

The ceviche and sunshine make up for a terrifying non-taxi experience and having to purchase a new flight to Cusco (note to self: never fly Copa Airlines again).

lima peru - lesley siu

10. Cusco

We took a cooking class and made pisco sours, walked around the Maras salt mines, wandered through the markets, and met the best driver, César.

pisco sours - lesley siu

maras salt mines - lesley siu

11. Aguas Calientes

Pro tip: take the bus up to Machu Picchu. Always take the bus.

peru machu picchu -- places traveled 2016

12. New York

I always stop by Maison Kayser for a little taste of Paris, even on a 24-hour trip to NYC to shoot a video.

maison kayser new york - lesley siu

13. Paris

Then I actually went to Paris, because, you know… It’s Paris. Galeries Lafayette was dressed up for Christmas!

galeries lafayette - lesley siu

14. London

Crossed the Tower Bridge and another thing off my London bucket list.

london tower bridge - lesley siu

15. Oxford

I’ve missed the history and charm and studying in the UK.

oxford - lesley siu

16. Austin

A conference, UX class, and coffee at Dominican Joe.

dominican joe austin - lesley siu


Cheers to more adventures in 2017! Where should I go next?

bastille day: new york edition

maison kayser nyc

After celebrating Bastille Day in Paris last year, the only option this year was…to pretend I was in Paris. Thanks to Maison Kayser for making the holiday (and every day) in New York just as sweet.

my favorite coffee around the world

kookabooraiced latte at Kooka Boora, Paris

Happy National Coffee Day! I’d say I’m quite the coffee snob addict. Bold statement? Well, when I broke my French press, I almost cried—and not over the spilled coffee. Whenever I move somewhere new, I make it a point to find the best coffee shop(s). It’s kind of a necessity. Here are a few of my favorites in the cities I’ve lived in over the past two and a half years. I might need to have some trips brewing after this…

New York, NY

Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Arguably the best coffee in New York. If I lived near 29th and Broadway, I’d be there every single day. It’s connected to The Ace Hotel, too—cool vibes all around.

Paris, France

Kooka Boora: My favorite café for coffee in my favorite city—and not just because they have iced coffee (rare in Paris). This Australian coffee shop also has good music, free WiFi and indoor/outdoor space to do work (and people watch). It’s in the 9th arrondissement, one of favorite neighborhoods.

Caféothèque: Lovely lattes in the heart of Paris and right in front of the Seine. It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s a little pricey, but the espresso and cozy atmosphere are worth it.

Washington, DC

Filter Coffeehouse: I love the charming Dupont Circle location. Bonus points because they have a flat white on the menu. And it’s the best I’ve found in DC (so far).

Baked & Wired: Cappuccinos and cupcakes = a match made in coffee heaven. They also have Stumptown Coffee. Dreamy.

Glasgow, Scotland

S’Mug: Their vanilla chai tea lattes kept me going through the Scottish winter. And that says a lot.

Melbourne, Australia

Brunetti: Excellent coffee and heaps of delicious desserts. The City Square location is convenient, but the original one in Carlton is iconic.

You bet I was all over that free iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts today. Can’t go wrong with an American classic, right?