For my second night in NYC, I decide to change hotel to another hilton properties since the rates are much cheaper if I book them separately, it is also a great opportunity to be able to try and review another property from Hilton as well as in NYC. The Renwick Hotel is also part of Hilton, under the Curio Collection, which are more quirky and unique, they have a certain flair that might not suit the normal hotels groups. It might be fun staying at such properties since they might be usually housed in a special rebuilt or renovated buildings. Previously, I have raved about the location of my previous hotel. The Renwick is awesome as well, for checking out midtown and uptown. Perhaps more suitable for the typical tourists since you are super close to Times Square, Empire State, Rockerfeller, Central Park and definitely shopping down the world famous 5th Ave. Heck, Grand Central Terminal is just next door. You are practically at the heart of everywhere!
I was actually due to stay at the Conrad NYC and was really looking forward to it. I do not know why but the rates for the night that I was staying at in NYC were really cheap, in comparison to the others. My Conrad rates were a flexible one, I originally had it at about 240USD per night. However roughly about a week before my stay, I went to do another check and realised that all of the rates for the hotel have drop and in fact, for the friday night, I could find properties that were even at around 120USD. Couldn’t give up this opportunity, I cancelled my conrad stay. I found the Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Centre going for only about around 120USD and after taxes and fee, I paid about 147USD. Furthermore, I am going to get some points and clock towards my Hilton Gold as well. The location was pretty good as well. It is located right at the edge of the banks, in Wall St, in fact just opposite the Subway as well as the Staten Island Ferry. The location makes it a perfect choice to explore lower manhattan, world trade centre and even Tribeca and Soho. I love how sometimes in the Wall St, especially on the weekends and holidays, it become quiet and rates are oftenly low.
Before I continue on to the next episode in my trip, I would just like to digress a little and share about the Bus Travels in USA, since this is basically the main form of transportation when in country, especially when you are travelling solo. America is a place where there is high importance on road travels, but of course, renting a car might not be the most cost effective way when you are travelling alone or on a budget. Trains travels are also not as well developed like the Europe, furthermore the Amtrak, holds such a great Monopoly that I would say that trains tickets are way too overpriced. That leaves the flights and buses as the main form of transportation around cities and getting by. Flights may not be ideal for certain distance, together with the cost of getting to the airport, leaving long distance coaches as the remaining solution. On a rule of thumb, I would go for a coaches if it is less than 5 hours. In this post, I just wanna share a little on what you can expect to get during bus travels.
I was actually pretty excited about Philadelphia after hearing so much about it, furthermore, I was staying with a host as well, which I am sure that I will also be able to visit some areas where the locals hang and goes to. Furthermore, after being close to bed ridden in D.C I am clearly in the mood back for some sightseeing. I decided to stay 2 nights in Philadelphia. Philly or the land of the famed cheesesteaks seems rather different than the various cities around US that I have been to. It had its own vibes, culture and way of living. It is not an expensive city as well when you compare it to the likes of NYC, LA, SF. It had a little rugged vibes and feels as well as a tons of American History. After all this is the birthplace of America! I think it is a great place with great food!
Writing this while having massive US Withdrawal right now, Washington D.C and College Park Maryland can be said as the most eventful place during my two weeks trip to the States. I was there to visit a friend of mine who was on exchange. I had a lot of amazing experience throughout my stay in College Park, Maryland, roughly just about 20 mins out of D.C. I would just like to take the opportunity to share some of my highlights here. I was staying in College Park for 6 days. It does seems to be rather long, but nice and relaxing. While it might not be really relevant since you will probably not stay here unless you are studying in the University of Maryland, I will still like to share a little on it.
This is going to be a fairly short post since I only spend the morning walking around Jersey City and then a couple of hours in Newark which was even further cut short by the rain. It is lovely to check out this two little cities since they are always considered the underdogs when squaring up against the likes of NYC. It is also one of the reason why I stayed in Jersey City the night before even though I landed in JFK all the way in Queens.
Landing at close to 9pm, we were slightly late in touching down furthermore we had a long taxi. I can’t believe that I was in a metal tube for close to 17 hours, as awesome as Cathay may sounds, I was tired, exhausted and I just want to have a hot bath and hit the sack. I had one night around NYC area before taking the bus down to Washington and meet up with my friend. Thankfully immigration were completely empty and I was the first one thru, there was a slight wait for the baggage and I left JFK at around 915pm. I had actually wanted to take a ride share but it actually cost more than 100USD. HELL. I was staying in Jersey City since that rates are much much cheaper and in fact I got a nice rate at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Jersey City for just 155USD after tax and everything. I made the long journey using the Airtrain, Subway and then the Path, which took me about 1hr 45 mins in total to get to Jersey. Seems like it is a balance between cost and ease. The hotel has a really good location since it is like just a stone throw away from the Path.
Finally it is time to share on my Cathay Pacific Flight! Its been a long 6 months! I have been waiting for this day since I got the ticket on Jan 1. Way too excited to fly in Cathay Pacific First, up till now, I have only tried premium cabins on SQ, so was wondering how other airlines square up to them. I have already did up a comparison earlier, this time around I am going to share my full experience on Cathay. Just be prepared, it’s gonna be a intensive and long post of pictures as well! I have already read countless reviews online to see how the experience would be like. Good things sure take times! Furthermore I am going to be stuck in the plane for more than 17hours, my longest flight ever. Surely, I am doing it in style! Before that I was at The Pier, all the way at Gate 62 before knowing that my flight depart from Gate 4. It was a mad rush to the gate, super far, even with walking briskly, it sure took me about 15 mins. I wanted to be the first to board to get some good pictures of the cabin. A little avgeek! Boarding almost begin when I reached, with everyone lined up to get the security interview! Thankfully it was organised and I was still the first to board, allowing me to take some pretty good pictures.