Summer 2012 Part 2: Vancouver

First Time in Vancouver!

This was part 2 of my post graduate travels. Keeping it closer to home, I decided to go to a city I’ve never visited before but heard many great things about. That city is Vancouver. This decision was also fuelled by the fact that a good friend from University grew up in Vancouver and with a city rated as one of the most livable cities in the world, what could go wrong?

So began this 2 week vacation trip planned with 4 of my friends from University and a few more who we had a chance to rendezvous with while in the beautiful city! Read on to find out about all our great adventures!


I want to preface this with the fact that we had a lot of amazing food, unfortunately I have almost next to no food photos because I was too busy indulging. Sorry! To make up for that fact. I will sprinkle facts and restaurants we’ve visit along the way.

So for the first few nights we stayed at my friends house but when the whole gang flew over from Toronto, we moved over to our rental in Richmond, BC. This rental was actually from Airbnb! This was another first. We decided to go this route because it was significantly cheaper than renting a hotel. If I were to do anything differently though, it would be to rent a more private place. The place we stayed at was basically a hostel in someone’s house. There were Airbnb’ers moving in and out everyday; also I think since we were of the younger type, the landlord gave us a bit more trouble. But for the price, I don’t think any of us could really complain.

So our first stop? Capilano suspension bridge! No wait, first stop was Tokyo Joe’s! This place was cheap, no bells and whistles but absolutely delicious. Service was friendly and upbeat. The highlight was that the sashimi pieces were absolutely HUGE and FLAVOURFUL. I normally can’t tell the difference but at Tokyo Joe’s the freshness and portion of the seafood was awesome.

Awkwardly posing.

Long suspension bridge.

More shots of the long suspension bridge.

Cam whoring with friends on the bridge.

Being Asian, we also had a natural attraction to Aberdeen mall. Somehow in the 2 weeks we were there, we happen to visit Aberdeen about 5 or 6 times. Aberdeen is awesome though! For those who’ve been to Toronto/Markham; it’s like a better Pacific Mall in the sense that it looks nicer and it’s bigger.

Picked up some cute voodoo dolls from Aberdeen.

Pajo’s Fish and Chips! Another stop while in Richmond. No frills again but absolutely delicious fish and chips by the waterside. Also there was a gelato shop right beside it where we grabbed a waffle cone. My friend got the Dolce de Luche and it was AMAZING. It made me forget whatever the heck it was that I got.

The Original Guu! My first time at Guu and what better way to do it than at the original Guu! To be honest I was disappointed. The place was hyped up so much. I found the dishes to be nothing special. What was more disappointing was that the alcoholic drink hardly tasted like it had any alcohol. Blasphemy!

I'm on a Canon.

Aye aye Captain!

Some guy thinking he's bionic and all that close to Waterfront.

Watching the sunset at some beach near UBC.

Group shot on the beach.

Onto some physical activity because Vancouver has a lot of mountains to climb! Our first hike was at The Grouse Grind. Honestly, after hiking for 4 hours straight uphill in the middle of Thailand’s summer heat, the Grouse Grind was dare I say it, fairly easy. If you were curious why they call it the Grouse Grind. It’s most likely because the trail essentially grinds up and up and up, all the way to the top.

Half way there!

Posing at the top.

Cam whoring with friends at the top of The Grouse Grind.

Scary bear at the top of The Grouse Grind. Nope. Nope.

Bald eagle also at the top of the Grind.

In terms of food, Japadogs! Heard a lot about this place from friends so I really wanted to try it out. It was packed. I got the classic Terimayo. It was meh. Nothing amazing. Unique? Yes. Amazingly delicious? No.

After a stroll around Stanley Park…

Spotted a sweet Lambo.


Next big stop was Victoria. We took the ferry to Victoria and that was an experience in itself as I’ve never had to drive onto a ferry before. It was pretty neat. My friend who was from Vancouver was probably thinking, not this damn ferry again though. In any case, it was neat and he knew all the tips and tricks to make the ferry ride smooth.

Liking messing with friends while they're sleeping on the ferry ride over.

I enjoyed Victoria a lot. It might have been my favourite area while on this trip. It’s a nice, small city that wasn’t too busy. The general atmosphere was more laid back and the place is surrounded by water on all sides. How can you go wrong? Nice shorelines everywhere! I think what tipped the scale though was I had the most amazing fish tacos.. or fish tacones ever at a place called Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Fish tacones. So delicious, I had to take a picture at all costs.

Anyways, that wasn’t even our first stop. Our first stop was Butchart Gardens. A beautiful garden. Duh.

Yeah that's where we went!

Classic shot.


Unsuspecting photo.

Puuurdy flowers.

More puuuurdy flowers.

Even more preeeeeeeeety flowers.

Yup, even more. It's a garden.

A peak into the ocean.

What else did we do other than look at pretty flowers at Butchart Gardens? We went whale watching at the behest of my friend. The whale watching was meh in itself. We mainly saw just the tip of the whale’s fin. The highlight was the boat ride itself. It was a 10 seater boat and it went fast! It was like a roller coaster on the water. Fun stuff.

That's about the best photo I got of a whale.

Since there was water everywhere, we went to some shoreline, which I don’t even know the name of. Does it even have a name? The latter part of the day in Victoria was spent going from spot to spot and visiting different areas of the shoreline. It was quick, concise, and fun! I guess I forgot to mention that we only allocated a day for Victoria since we didn’t want to pay for accommodations. I think it was just about enough time to explore what we wanted though.

At non-descript shoreline, causing some trouble.

Group shot!

Then we visited Mount Douglas. It had an amazing view of Victoria.

Deep in thought. Not really.

Just chilling at the top. It was pretty windy up there.

Pushing friend down mountain.

I'm on top of the world!

Heh heh. It's actually ridiculously windy up here.

The Chief

A peak we went up that had the most best views hands down out of all the peaks we went up. It was also the most fun peak to climb. It had a chain link rope and ladders. The very top of the Chief was all rock and was pretty scary. One slip and you’re gone tumbling down the hill. On our way to The Chief we also stopped at Shannon Falls.

Weee water.

Shannon Falls. Nice stopover on our way to the Chief.

Decked out for the hike with my walking stick that I found.

These things were roaming all over at the top of the peak.

The view at the top. It's more exhilarating up there than looking at the photo.

Posing at the top.

What was arguably even more fun was going back down. I basically ran and jumped off stairs to get down. Was fun. Probably took a few years off my knees but meh.

We also visited Whistler after the Chief. But I have absolutely no photos from there. So let’s pretend I didn’t actually go there.

Back in Vancouver/Richmond

So after all the craziness and touristy stuff. We finally settled back in our final days back to Vancouver/Richmond. I met up with another friend from University who lives in Port Coquitlam, BC and we went to the Richmond Night Market!
I was pretty excited to see how it was compared to the Markham Night Market. The Richmond Night Market runs over a longer period than the weekend Night Market in Markham. It’s also less crowded so it was more pleasant. It didn’t have as much entertainment as the Markham Night Market.. It had a lot of repeating stores like sunglasses, iPhone cases, sunglasses, cell phone accessories, iPhone cases. I would say that the Markham one is better. That’s not to say it wasn’t fun though! Was still certainly worth a visit. Near the end, food got cheaper as stalls were looking to clear out their stuff. That’s when I started pouncing on food. Being Asian and all. Apparently I even gave the puppy face to the bubble tea stall when they refused to give me a discount and they ended up giving me 50 cents off! Hah! Win.

Chinese food. Lights gave a pretty cool effect to the booth.

Some new shades? Friends said I should've bought it but I already had a pair of Ray Bans.

My friend from University that came out from Port Coquitlam to chill with us!

Uhh.. I don't even know.

Pretty lights at the Night Market.

Food area getting kinda busy.

Yummy squid.

My friend from Port Coquitlam also brought us to a nice bar and we had an amazing night just chilling and fuelling our post graduate alcohol cravings. Had a drink called the fireball a couple times and it was delicious. Had a bit of a cinnamon heart spice to it and a sharp sweet flavour with a nice strong taste of alcohol to it! The night was also filled with tequila and vodka. Reminded me of nights in Thailand! It was great getting to catch up with friends from Toronto that happend to be all the way there in Vancouver.

So finally winding down our days on vacation, we went to Granville Island. Visited the brewery and got our beer on.

Getting our beer on. All 4 kinds. I think the Pale Ale was my favourite.

Chilling on a patio with a beer before our flight back home :(

Genius. Telescopes at the airport!

Beautiful airport. Beautiful day on our last day.

Our last meal was at Kiriri. Again my friend hyped this up so much. But it pretty much lived up to all the hype. Fancy Japanese place. Had amazing dishes. There was udon that was breaded in like a tempura batter and served with a bowl of soup. The creme brûlée was also perfect. I don’t remember what dishes we ordered since my friend ordered everything, but it was one of the best meals I had while on this trip.

Vancouver Airport is probably the second nicest airport I’ve visited. Hong Kong Airport would be the nicest as it has amazing views, great transportation to and from, and so much food options! Our last day in Vancouver was beautiful though. With all the gloomy, rainy weather we were getting, it was great to see Vancouver decide to bid us farewell with a picture perfect day.

All in all, I had an amazing time in Vancouver and the surrounding area. It had a lot to live up to with all the hype everyone gives it about being such a beautiful city and also after having an amazing vacation overseas in Thailand and Hong Kong. But my friend did an amazing job of showing us the best of what Vancouver had to offer. As well, being able to spend vacation just chilling with friends is simply priceless.

2 thoughts on “Summer 2012 Part 2: Vancouver

  1. Sharon says:

    I highly recommend the Guu on church street in Toronto (assuming they don’t have the same dishes as the original Guu in Vancouver)! Definitely worth the 1 hour wait plus there’s maple leaf gardens loblaws to walk around so it can’t be that bad of a wait. I’ve never tried the alcoholic drinks there but if a taste of alcohol is what you prefer then I would recommend the imported beer.

  2. John Hok says:

    They have different menus I believe. My friends went to the Guu here in Toronto and liked it a lot. So it’s on my to-try list here (:

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