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Hi there and welcome to Life with Larissa!

If you enjoy travelling and learning about other people's experiences, then you've come to the right spot! If you don't enjoy these things, go ahead and check it out anyway. You might be surprised you like what you findΒ πŸ™‚

This blog focuses on travelling, and all the different aspects of travel. You'll read about adventures abroad, journeys through different cities, explorations of various countries, and discoveries of finding how great travelling is. Not only will you find how deep the passion for travelling runs, you may also find inspiration to help you on your next adventure!

I truly appreciate you taking the time to stop by, so thank you. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Check out the categories above under blog posts and let me know what you think!

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Top Things to Do in Ko Samui

Ko Samui is a tropical island paradise! The second largest island of Thailand, Ko Samui is a large tourist destination. People are attracted to the gorgeous beaches, the scrumptious food, and the fun adventures! We had a blast exploring the island, and surprising had enough time to make it around the entire island. Although we were able to partake in many fun things, keep reading and you’ll find out about some of my top picks for Ko Samui!

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Top 3 Temples to Visit in Bangkok

Named as the top tourist destination city in the world, Bangkok welcomes more than 20 million visitors each year. People are attracted to the diversity the city has to offers. Although we did not have a lot of time to explore everything we would have liked, we were able to see some of the more popular temples.

With the official religion of Thailand being Buddhism, and approximately 97% of the population identifying as Buddhists, it’s not too surprising to learn that there are over 30,000 temples in the country. Bangkok specifically is home to a little over 400 of these temples. Each one is unique and has its own characteristics and personality.

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Exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam

If you would have asked me if I would be visiting Vietnam in my lifetime, I’m sure my answer would be along the lines of “I don’t know…maybe one day.” But life has a funny way of throwing surprises our way – whether good or bad. Thankfully, it was a good surprise to see that Vietnam was on our cruise itinerary. I didn’t know much about Vietnam or the Cu Chi Tunnels before going, but I was excited to see and experience the country with the limited time we had.

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Top Things to Do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. Although Hong Kong is technically a part of China, it falls under the ‘one country; two systems’ philosophy. The laws, the regulations, and even the currency are different from the mainland.

Hong Kong, meaning Fragrant Harbour, got its name due to the incense being burned at temples and letting off a pleasant aroma. The city is one of the world’s most densely populated areas, which means when you find out that it’s also the world’s most vertical city it shouldn’t be a surprise. Approximately 8,000 skyscrapers dominate the city, helping to house the 7.4 million residents.

Although I did not have the chance to spend a lot of time in Hong Kong, I was able to see and experience some pretty neat things. Below you’ll find my recommendations listed alphabetically!

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Top Things to Do in Busan

Busan, the second largest city in South Korea and the tourist capital of the country, is also known for their medical tourism. So much so that there is a Medical Street, where it is popular to schedule procedures. Approximately 60% of young female Koreans have had cosmetic surgery, which why you’ll see a lot of women wearing face masks. Busan is also the only place with the world with a United Nations cemetery.

Although I didn’t have as much time as I wanted in this interesting city, you will find my top recommendations below, listed in alphabetical order.

BIFF Square

Eating Deliciousness - Busan
Eating Deliciousness

If you’re looking for a prime place to snack on delicious street food while doing your shopping, this is the perfect place. BIFF Square has many different options when it comes to satisfying both your hunger and retail needs. Feel free to come to the square ravenous, as there are multiple areas where you can sit and get complete meals. The dishes are cooked right in front of you, and you can opt to sit down in a mini chair at a mini table. If you’ve already eaten, small snacks and sweets are easy to find. We munched on some candy-coated strawberries, the famous Busan pancakes, scrumptious waffles, and delectable peanuts wrapped in fried dough. I highly recommend them all!

For shopping purposes, you will find all the traditional trinkets and souvenirs for tourists, such as magnets, keychains, and postcards. You’ll also find you can do more substantial shopping, including handbags, clothes, sunglasses, and even healthcare needs. The BIFF Square can take care of all your needs!

Dongbaekseom

Views from Dongbaekseom - Busan
Views from Dongbaekseom

Dongbaekseom, containing many picturesque areas, used to be an island of Busan, but is now connected to the mainland. This area only accommodates foot passengers, and there is a walking trail that takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. There are two options for walking – 1) the more picturesque route, but contains many stairs and may not be the best for those with knee pain; 2) the more direct route, but may miss a lot of the scenic views. I personally did not think the first route was too much, especially if you are not in a hurry. Others in our group felt the same way, and they were glad they decided to forgo the more direct route.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Temple - Busan
Haedong Temple

Originally constructed in 1376, the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple stands proudly against the seaside – one the few in all of South Korea. It was destroyed during the Japanese invasion of Korea, but was rebuilt in the 1930s. 12 zodiac sign statues line the entrance of the temple, and protect it from evil spirits. Inside the temple, you will find picturesque views each and every way you turn. You’ll also find two golden pigs, which represent prosperity and luck. Don’t forget to rub the pigs when you pass by!

Jagalchi Fish Market

Squid from the Market - Busan
Squid from the Market

Established by women during the Korean War, the Jagalchi Fish Market continues to thrive to this day. During the war, women needed a way to make money while the men were away at war, and thus the fish market was born. With so many different options to choose from, the streets are brimming with tanks and tubs filled with various seafood. We saw octopi, fish [some we had seen before, and some we had never seen], seaweed, and so many different things. People were coming to buy them fresh – and even though you may not want to buy any fish, it’s an interesting market to explore, and there are even restaurants you can go and eat at.

Nurimaru APEC House

The APEC House - Busan
The APEC House

In 2005, Busan hosted the APEC, Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Leaders’ Meeting. The building, overlooking the gorgeous blue waters and amazing cityscape, has now been transformed into a museum to commemorate the meeting. Inside you’ll be able to learn about what took place at the meeting, what food was served, and you’ll also get to see the huge table where all the leaders sat. The table has name placements as to which country sat where – that was pretty cool to see.

Busan was a fun and exciting city to explore. To be honest, Busan had never really been on my list of places to go just because it hadn’t crossed my radar before, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to visit. Have you ever been to Busan? What about South Korea? What were your first impressions? If you haven’t been, is it on your list of places to visit? I’d love to hear from you!

Learning the History of Nagasaki

Have you ever visited a place that made you sad? Truly made your heart break and made you want to leave crying but you were still glad you went? For me, that was my visit to Nagasaki.

As you should know, Nagasaki was one of the cities forever marked as one of the sites of the atomic bomb dropping in World War II. After enduring the horrors of the bomb, Nagasaki chooses to educate others about the devastation and destruction left behind.

Atomic Bomb Museum

Atomic Bomb Model - Nagasaki
Atomic Bomb Model

If you’re visiting Nagasaki, you cannot miss experiencing the Atomic Bomb Museum. It’s one thing to learn about the history in a classroom from a textbook, but it’s another to learn about it while seeing the artifacts which survived the dropping. Walking into the museum, you first encounter a clock that stopped working the second the bomb was dropped – 11:02. Just seeing that begins the somber journey through the museum.

Each step further into the museum pulls at your heart strings. As you fully begin to understand just how much damage the bomb did, it takes everything in you to hold back your tears. Not only do they have clothes and household items from that day, they also have testimonies from survivors. To read their first hand experience was gut wrenching – that is where I almost started crying. To think that humans did this to other humans is beyond comprehension.

Nagasaki Peace Park

Peace Statue - Nagasaki
Peace Statue

The Peace Park is dedicated to honoring those affected by the bomb, and to promoting peace. Comprised of various statues and peace offerings, the park resonates the importance of worldwide peace. The Peace Statue stands prominent and tall in the park, representing the past, the present, and the future. One hand is pointing up in the direction where the bomb exploded. The other hand is pointing forward toward the future, in the direction of peace. The statue has its eyes closed, praying for the families impacted by the bomb.

Although Nagasaki is widely known as one of the sites of the atomic bomb droppings, the city is now filled with welcoming residents who want to honor the past, but look toward the future of a peaceful world. My visit was short and focused on this significant moment in history, but I would love to go back to fully explore what Nagasaki is today. If you ever visit Nagasaki, I highly recommend making these stops a part of your visit. As always, thank you for reading πŸ™‚

Have you been to Nagasaki? What did you do? What would be your top recommendation? If you haven’t been, do you want to go?

10 Things To Do In Shanghai

Our first stop of our grand adventure in January started in Shanghai. I flew out of the United States on New Year’s Eve, spending actual New Year in the air, not knowing when the countdown began or ended. It did not matter that much to me though, because I would be ringing in the new year in Asia, visiting different places, learning of different cultures, and sampling different foods.

Shanghai, China’s biggest city and also the financial hub of the country, offers so many exciting adventures for those passing through. We spent five days exploring the city, and had a blast doing so. Below, sorted alphabetically, you’ll find the top ten things I recommend doing while in Shanghai!

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REVIEW: Sapphire Princess

The month of January was a whirlwind of adventure and exploration thanks to a 2-week cruise throughout Asia aboard the Sapphire Princess. The cruise started in Shanghai, China, visited various ports of call, and ended in Singapore. It was truly a trip of a lifetime being able to experience new cultures, people, and foods. Overall, I genuinely enjoyed my time on the Sapphire Princess; however, I do have some comments that did not necessarily deter from my experience, but may influence others’ decisions to book a trip on this ship. Continue reading to learn my overall impressions of the Sapphire Princess!

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Feature Friday: Meet Larissa J.

Happy Friday everyone! These past two months have been a whirlwind, hence my long absence from the blogging scene. Today, I want to take the time to re-introduce myself, so this Feature Friday is all about meeting the person behind the blog, Larissa! You would think the easiest post to write would be the one about yourself, but it was more difficult than I originally though. How can I compress my 20-something years of life into a blog post, highlighting the most interesting things about myself? Well, I gave it my best shot! Continue reading to learn more, and please comment and let me know if you relate on any level πŸ™‚ Continue reading “Feature Friday: Meet Larissa J.”

Disney World Adventures: Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom

Is there anything more magical than starting your day off at the happiest place on Earth? Okay, if we’re being honest – maybe waking up in Bora Bora, or the Maldives. But I think Disney World is pretty up there as well! I flew down to Orlando SUPER early morning, where one of my best friends came to pick me up. We headed to a delicious breakfast spot, then made our way Disney! As you may [or may not] know, Disney World is composed of four different parks: Magic Kingdom; Animal Kingdom; Epcot; and Hollywood Studios. We spent the day experiencing the first two – Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom!
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