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?

video: a week in peru

Peru is a beautiful country with wonderful people and amazing food. I traveled through the country last week with a few friends. My favorite moments: hiking at Machu Picchu, taking a cooking class in Cusco, and eating all of the ceviche in Lima.

15 places I traveled to in 2015

When work gives you extra vacation days, you take them. I was lucky to find affordable airfares and fortunate to have the flexibility to take time to travel. Six countries, two continents and 33 flights later, 2015 took me to some of my favorite destinations to date. My favorite trip? Solo traveling through Vietnam, where I perfected skills in dodging motorcycles, negotiating at markets and finding the best street food. It was a year of fulfilling travel adventures, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1. Paris (twice)

The city I’ll travel to again and again and still be excited to return to every single time.


2. Amsterdam

Wandering around the canals will never get old.


3. Brussels

A city that feels like the European version of D.C. is even better at night.


4. Ho Chi Minh City

A crazy and energizing city where it is 100 percent necessary to play Frogger in real life.


5. Hoi An, Vietnam

My favorite place in Vietnam. Biking to An Bang Beach was a highlight of the trip.

Hoi An, Vietnam

6. Hanoi, Vietnam

A magical place where I discovered the French Quarter, Old Quarter, egg coffee and life-changing bun bo nam bo.


7. Singapore

Clean and efficient, a bright city with a fascinating mix of cultures.


8. Honolulu

Annual trip to the homeland.

ala moana

9. Haleiwa, Hawaii

Driving to the North Shore and around the island is one of my favorite things to do.

matsumoto shave ice

10. Charleston, South Carolina

The architecture. The history. The charm. The food!

charleston city market

11. London

Even in a quick 36-hour trip, there’s always time for tea.

tea in london

12. Reims, France

Santé to Veuve Clicquot for teaching me how to properly open a bottle of Champagne.


13. Virginia

Just your average day trip to the vineyards with great friends.


14. San Antonio, Texas

Congrats, grad!


15. Washington, D.C.

Traveling and discovering new places within your city counts, too. There’s no place like home, right?


on instagram: paris

instagram_paris_lesleysiuI fell in love with Paris on my first trip in November 2011. Exactly three years later, I returned on a second solo adventure (and am still reliving it through Instagram). I will never get tired of visiting my favorite places like Place des Vosges, Merci and Du Pain et Des Idées. Good thing solo trip #3 is already booked…

monthly milestones: august and september 2013

love lock bridge 2013 - pont des arts - lesley siu

Better late than never, right? At the end of August, I was packing up in Paris and preparing for my first trip to Asia. A busy time, to say the least. As I look back at these two months of traveling, it’s hard to keep myself from planning another adventure. The uncertainty of the next few months is daunting. But, one thing’s for sure: I could not be more thankful for the opportunities I’ve had (made?) to travel the world.

August 2013

1. Went on a round trip to Amsterdam in 24 hours

2. Visited Versailles, climbed the Eiffel Tower and explored le Palais Garnier

3. Wandered around the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay…twice

4. Discovered Merci, my favorite store in Paris

5. Was complemented on my French by both the waiter and taxi driver on my last night in Paris

September 2013

1. Rode an elephant in Laos and pet tigers in Thailand

2. Saw the sunrise at Angkor Wat

3. Learned how to say “hello” and “thank you” in Thai, Lao and Cambodian

4. Went on a two-week trip with only carry on luggage

5. Made a video about my summer in Paris

no problem, we’re in laos

Sabaidee from Vientiane, the capital of Laos! The culture here is very laid back. We have been in Laos for the past week, and we are flying to Phnom Penh, Cambodia today.


1. Riding an elephant in Luang Prabang



2. Seeing the Laos “Arc de Triomphe”


3. Cruising the Mekong River to get to a guest house in Pakbeng


4. Swimming at Kuangsi Waterfall Park in Luang Prabang


5. The scenic drive from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng


6. Giving rice to monks at sunrise in Luang Prabang


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