Travel

LAN SU CHINESE GARDEN {PORTLAND, OR}

Lan Su Garden Portland Oregon

Who knew there was a Chinese garden in Old Town Portland, but for sure there is and it’s really amazing and crazy cool. I’m not even sure how we learned about Lan Su Chinese Garden… probably our Portland book, because we’re all about going to the library. The great thing about Lan Su Garden is that you can visit for about 30 minutes to an hour and still check out other amazing places in Old Town Portland. We visited mid-morning, walked the garden, then went to Made Here, Powell’s Books and then lunch! It’s a great place to squeeze in and totally worth it. By the way, Made Here is one of my favorite shops, you’re able to check out locally made artisan goods in one place… I wanted to buy everything, haha. They also have Portland specific curated gift boxes… man oh man, curated gift boxes are my favorite. Go check it out, it’s the best.

PRICE

For only $11 a person I would absolutely recommend visiting Lan Su Garden. It’s really peaceful and beautiful and they often have activities which are free with your admission. So yeah, put it on your list.

WHERE TO PARK

We passed a handful of parking lots (paid parking lots) in Old Town and ended up parking a block or so away from the garden not knowing where the best place to park was. BUT, there is a parking lot right across the street, so check that lot first before finding something else. We visited on a Sunday afternoon, so it was pretty quiet and easy to find parking. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for parking, whether it’s a lot or street parking.

WHEN TO VISIT

We visited on a Sunday afternoon which was great. It wasn’t busy or crowded at all. The one thing to consider is that if your making a trip to Old Town on a Sunday, not every place will be open. We walked by a few places we would have loved to go in but they were closed. It was also a little rainy when we visited, but it didn’t bother us at all, it was still really nice.


MULTNOMAH FALLS {PORTLAND, OR}

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Multnoham Falls is definitely a must see if you’re visiting Portland, especially since it’s only about 30 minutes from the airport and the drive is a breeze. There are so many amazing things about Portland, but I have to point out how easy it is to get places. It’s not like trying to get around or though LA… talk about trying to go north or south on I5… or trying to drive through Manhattan, not thanks. (That’s why Tyler and I always take the train into NYC, haha. )

Multnoham Falls is the second largest waterfall in the national so make sure to put it on your list, it’s also just really fun, absolutely beautiful, people are super friendly, and if weather is decent you can turn it into a good hike.

WHEN TO VISIT

Before we visited Multnoham Falls we learned that the best time to go is on a week day and regardless of what day you go on you should go first thing in the morning. The falls can get pretty crowded so going in the morning ensure’s you’ll grab a parking spot and be able to view the falls.

We were on the road by 7:30am and arrived around 8:00am. Arriving at that time was perfect as not many people had arrived yet.

WHERE TO PARK

Parking is super easy as long as you visit the falls early. There is a parking lot across the street from the falls. You’ll see it has you approach, so there’s no stress to try to find it. When we arrived at 8:00am there were plenty of parking spots, but as we left… probably around 8:45am or 9:00am, the lot was already filling up.

WHAT TO EXPECT

You’ll see the falls the minute you arrive and access to viewing the falls is easy to get too. I wondered if there would be a lot of dirt and mud getting to the falls… like would I be hiking through the woods?😂 I considered taking my favorite hiking shoes, but my New Balance ended up being perfect, because most everything was paved. It’s super easy to take pictures too. My brother and I walked up to the viewing area and snapped a few photos as Tyler hung behind and took photos from the road. Remember arriving early is a game changer. Fewer people made it easier to get fun pictures and the other early birds that arrived when we did were super nice and took pictures of all us us together. We swapped pictures with so many people. Tyler is great at offering to take pictures of couples and families. It’s such a nice thing when everyone can be in the photo.

LENGTH OF THE HIKE

The are two main places to hike to when visiting Multnoham Falls. You can hike to the bridge and you can hike to the top of the falls. We were unable to hike to the top of the falls because it was closed due to mud slides. We did take a super quick hike (more like a walk) to the bridge and it was less than 10 minutes. Definitely walk to the bridge if you can. It’s fun to get pictures and you’re able to view the water fall even closer. The walk to the bridge is also paved and easy to do in sneakers.

MAKE TIME FOR WAHKEENA FALLS

On the way to Multnomah Falls you’ll actually pass Wahkeena falls, if you’re coming from the west (from the airport.) If you come from the east you won’t pass it on your way in, but it’s worth going to on your way out. We loved visiting Wahkeena Falls, because you can actually get really close to it, as you can hike to a bridge as well. Parking it easy here too. There is a small parking lot across the street.

HIKING TO THE FALLS

At the entrance of Wahkeena falls near the road there is a small viewing area and two trails. If your looking up at the falls one trail will lead right and one trail will lead left. To get to the bridge of Wahkeena falls take the trail to the right. It’s a short hike, maybe 10 or 15 minutes and it has a small incline. The trail is well manicured, but a little more muddy. I would have benefited from having my hiking shoes, but my N’s did great… they just ended up a little muddy. I wouldn’t recommend taking small children on this hike as there is a section right before the bridge that is a little sketching. It would be tricky for little people to navigate and I don’t know if a stroller would do great either.

WHAT TO EXPECT

You’re going to get wet, haha. If you want to really experience the water fall up close be prepared to get a little wet and take a rain jacket. There is a lot of spray off the water fall and when you cross the bridge it’s crazy windy. It’s so fun, but yeah, you’re going to get a little wet. There are plenty of opportunities for fun photos too. Tyler took lots of photos with our Nikon D300s and the camera took plenty of water fall spray too and was just fine.

THE TRAIL TO THE LEFT

If you decide to also hike the trail to the left I think you can take it all the way to Multnomah Falls. We only hiked this for a short distance before we turned back and learned that the other trail leads to the water fall.

DRIVE BACK ON E HISTORIC COLUMBIA RIVER HWY

When we drove to the falls we took I-84, but when we drove back we took old Historic Colombia River Hwy. This will add an extra 30 minutes on to your drive, but if you have time it’s worth it. There are even more water falls to see, smaller but just as beautiful and you can also stop at Vista House and take in all the amazing scenery.

A few things to note. We visited in mid-April, so most of the days were rainy… not heavy down pours, but light rain, and the sun would often peak out in the afternoon. It was cooler too, so we did a lot of layers and made sure to have rain jackets. The rain never kept us from seeing anything or visiting some where fun, it just meant we got a little wet.


PORTLAND EATS: TAMALE BOY

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We’re pretty serious about Mexican food or Tex-Mex or anything that has to do with tacos, burritos, chips, salsa, you name it…. I mean look at my face. 😂 During our last trip to Portland, Tyler and I knew we wanted to find a place to have really good Mexican food. It’s hard to find good Mexican food in New York and it’s incredibility difficult for my brother to find Mexican food in Korea.

We skimmed through our Fodor’s Travel Oregon Guide (we love Fodor’s Guides) and wrote down Tamale Boy. It was the first stop we made after arriving in Portland. We got off the plane, headed to our hotel, found my brother (he arrived the day before,) and then headed to eat… we were starving.

LOCATION & PARKING

Tamale Boy has two locations, we visited the Dekum location… it was closest to our hotel. It’s nestled in a cute little neighborhood (which there are like tones of restaurants in neighborhoods in Portland, it’s amazing.) Parking is limited to street parking around the neighborhood…. we arrived around 3:30pm, so we didn’t have any issues finding a spot. Keep parking in mind if you visit during the dinner hour.

INSIDE

There is plenty of room inside and they have outdoor seating which is super nice. We opted to sit inside because it was kind of chilly. Because we went between lunch and dinner it was also pretty quiet, so we were able to order right away. You order and pay at the counter and if you opt for water like we did, they have self serving water areas, which I loved.

TASTE

Tyler and I both ordered bowls or Naked Burritos which were amazing. I highly recommend getting it.

BURRITO ENCUERADO: All the components of our burritos, but without the tortilla. Your choice of tinga de res, tinga de pollo, carnitas, or hongo y epazote. Served with rice, black beans, pico de gallo. Topped with guacamole and kale mix.

My brother ordered a classic burrito but it was topped with chocolate sauce. I tried the sauce and it was so good! We also ordered guacamole which did not disappointment. Overall it so good with an authentic taste and fresh ingredients.

PRICE

Totally reasonable, check out there menu and prices here.

JUST FOR FUN

Right our side of Tamale Boy is a wising tree… like write your wish on a slip of paper and tie it to the tree. This was super fun and so Portland. There are so many things like this around the city.


MABUHAY FROM THE PHILIPPINES

Things slow down around here in December. It's one of my favorite times of year... and I'm finally able to share about our trip to the Philippines. I'm not even sure where to start. Tyler and I traveled to Zamboanga City, Philippines to celebrate my brother and his wife. They got married and it was beautiful. 

We took a redeye from JFK to Manila. It was a 20 hour flight, with one stop in Vancouver. It was my first international flight and the longest flight I had ever been on. My biggest concern was the long plane ride, but it was unexpectedly pleasant. I watched movie after movie, and the flight attendant brought lots and lots of food. The hardest part about our flight was not getting to lay down when I was super super tired, haha. 

We landed in Manila with a 20 hour layover, then we had another redeye to Zamboanga City. We arrived as the sun came up. It was the first time I would be seeing my brother for almost 2 years and it was also the first time meeting Michelle, my brother's new wife. It was a lovely reunion and an amazing trip. We stayed at the Garden Orchid hotel, which I would highly recommend. I would also recommend that you take a trip to the Philippines. :)

Our first day started with a 6:00am breakfast. After breakfast we had a short bit to unpack and settle in. Later that morning we were off to the church for my brother and sister-in-laws baptism. We had our first lunch with all the in-laws were we had amazing food and amazing company. I ended up crying at the table because I was so exhausted, but managed to pull my self together, haha. I felt like I had been up for two days, whew. 

Our our second day we went to Santa Cruz island, known for it’s beautiful pink beaches. Everything was amazing. We took a small boat to the island and I was just sure we were going to sink. ;) But we didn’t. We were only on the beach for a few hours, but it was beautiful and peaceful. We met locals, took pictures, sat under trees and had the very best time. 

We did a variety of things while we were there and all the days are running together now, whew. A few of our our favorite highlights included riding in a Jeepney, this was one of Tyler’s favorite things ever and I will agree, it was so fun! Jeepney’s were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II… if you were wondering. :) All the jeepney’s we saw had open seating and we jumped from one to the other. When someone wanted to get off, they simply tapped the railing with a coin. 

The wedding was on Friday, so we had the week to explore the city and have lots of fun. We had breakfast that Friday morning, followed by hair and make-up... my first time ever having my make-up done, and our attire was all ready for us. Tyler and I were apart of the wedding party and slightly unprepared, haha! We were considered sponsors for the wedding and we were in charge of the veil. Both of which are traditional in Philippine culture. During our part of the ceremony, neither Tyler or I knew what to do, so one of the wedding planners helped us. During the reception we both had to give speeches too… and we were unprepared for those as well. I got up on stage and was completely speechless. My brother coached me from the side as I stared at him. 

My brother and Michelle, went above and beyond to take care of us and make sure we had an amazing time. Michelle’s family was so open, generous, and kind. Our favorite part of the trip was the culture and all the people. 

Another random thing… Tyler and my mom were a hit with everyone. Zamboanga City doesn’t often get foreigners, so the fact that they were obviously foreigners (they are white, haha) they sure brought a lot of stares. We had a great time and it was one of the most amazing experiences! We definitely plan on going again. xoxo. Samantha