Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's 2011!!! Happy New Year everyone!

This is me, excited about 2011

2010 was an INCREDIBLE year for me (as evident by my previous post) and I want to thank EVERYONE for their love and support in my travels, blog and life in general.

I'm absolutely positive life can only get better in 2011. 

Here's to wishing you and your loved ones the happiest and best year ever in 2011!

© Connie Hum 2011

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Montage Monday: 2010, The Year in Review

2010 has, without a doubt, been an amazing year for me. There were so many incredible experiences and beautiful countries that I visited this year. I'm afraid I couldn't just pick the usual three for Montage Monday. Here are the highlights from 2010:

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda with my family
Spending a month in Burma with my family and visiting my relatives living in Burma was a great experience for me. Burma is such a beautiful country, the people are lovely and the food is just wonderful! I wish I had more opportunities to visit Burma and hopefully, I'll be able to make it back to Burma again before I leave Asia.

In an inspired moment of meditation
Learning to meditate in India was something I was really looking forward to doing and pretty much the only thing I had planned for 2010. The 10-day meditation retreat really made an impression on me and I enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, after leaving the retreat, I was unable to stay with the meditation program due to, well, mostly laziness on my part. I keep meaning to get back into meditation and I'm hoping that soon, I'll find the motivation to start practicing again.

Prayer flags blowing in the wind at Thorung La Pass
Things didn't start so well in Nepal, but trekking the Annapurna Circuit all the way up to Thorung La (5,416 meters or 17,769 feet) was an incredible accomplishment for me, both physically and mentally. It was the first time I had ever done anything so physically and emotionally demanding and draining. I was literally about to fall over when I reached the pass but the sense of victory and pride will stay with me for a long time!

With some of our students from the volunteer program
Matt and I spent three months volunteering in Thailand with Burmese migrant workers and their children. It was such a rewarding program. Matt and I had so much fun teaching English and guitar lessons to the kids, who are, obviously, quite adorable. And yes, I did cry when we had to leave!

In India, one of our first photos together
Meeting Matt this year. Yes, yes, we will wait for you to stop vomiting over the gushiness of this 2010 experience I'm highlighting. Pause. Are you done now? It's a long and rather complicated story, the story of meeting in India, traveling together, falling in love (sigh) and then the subsequent relationship. We're the first to tell you that we know how unconventional our relationship is and that it has been no easy ride, but we both feel very lucky to have met each other and continue to marvel at how far we've come together.

So as you can see, 2010 was quite the year. I'm pretty sure that 2011 will be even better because of - oh wait! I haven't posted the BIG NEWS yet! Whew, that was a close one! Sorry to keep you hanging on but the news isn't completely ready to be revealed. Soon, I promise!

© Connie Hum 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hotel Review: Royal Palace Hotel, Hanoi

Boutique hotels, especially those in Asia, should take note. They can learn a thing or two from Royal Palace Hotel in Hanoi.

Looking up at the entrance of the Royal Palace Hotel in Hanoi

Newly-opened in May of 2010, Royal Palace Hotel is located on Quon Su Street in a quiet section of the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Blissfully hidden away from the noise and chaos of the Old Quarter, Royal Palace Hotel is still just a short distance (less than five minutes walking) from the epicenter of Hanoi's famous sites so guests need not travel far to enjoy the all that Hanoi has to offer.

Royal Palace Hotel's small staff of 12 are the friendliest service staff I have had the pleasure of meeting in Hanoi and all are eager to provide guests with excellent and prompt service. I have never experienced such genuine hospitality in a hotel, especially in Asia. In addition to the warm, welcoming smiles, services at the reception desk include tour information and bookings to nearby Ha Long Bay and trekking expeditions in Sapa, as well as sight-seeing advice within Hanoi and throughout Vietnam.

The reception desk at Royal Palace Hotel

What sets Royal Palace Hotel apart from other boutique hotels in Hanoi are the little things that Royal Palace Hotel thoughtfully provides their guests during their stay such as complimentary breakfast with a variety of tasty options, unlimited beverages throughout the day, a fresh fruit basket upon check-in, Hanoi restaurant recommendations, soft bathrobes, alarm clock (a rarity in Asia), and the unique addition of a personal computer equipped with internet connection in each room.

The dining area where you can chat with the staff over breakfast

The 25 spacious rooms inside Royal Palace Hotel are tastefully and minimally decorated in a modern Asian style. The plush beds are luxuriously comfortable. Room rates begin at $60 USD for a standard room and go up to $95 for a super-sized family room, a near steal given the quality of amenities and level of service. As an added bonus, Royal Palace Hotel is currently offering a special 30% Grand Opening discount on all rooms!

The stunning deluxe room with personal computer at the Royal Palace Hotel

The Royal Palace Hotel has made a strong impression on me and helped me enjoy my time in Hanoi much more. The general feeling you get as a guest at Royal Palace Hotel is the enjoyment of being there. Royal Palace Hotel just doesn't feel like a place to go back to for sleep after a day out exploring. It feels like a place you can sit, relax and engage in conversation with friendly people over a plate of fresh fruit and hot coffee. And isn't that what a great hotel should be?

For more information on the Royal Palace Hotel and to book your room online, please visit their website. Tell them you heard of their hotel through Connvoyage and you'll receive FREE AIRPORT PICK-UP for reservations over three days or FREE TRAIN STATION PICKUP for all reservations! You'll probably get an extra smile as well!

INSIDER TIP: Less than a minute's walk away from the Royal Palace Hotel on Hoi Vu Street is the delightful Chuon Chuon Quan Cafe. Admire the photography adorning the walls while you spend an afternoon or evening over well-brewed coffee and light snacks. The nau da, or traditional Vietnamese coffee is especially outstanding.

*Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publishing. Although my stay at Royal Palace Hotel was sponsored by the hotel, this hotel review is an accurate and honest view on my experience there.

Would you stay at Royal Palace Hotel when you visit Hanoi? Why or why not?

© Connie Hum 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Haha, yes, the news comes in PARTS! I'm going to start with the small news first.

I finally bought myself a Nikon D90!!! I'm so excited (and subsequently nervous, anxious, terrified, etc.) to be traveling around with such an awesome piece of equipment but it means having the ability to take some really awesome photos in my upcoming travels and doing some fun and interesting photo projects that I've had in my head all year!

My cousin David from the States is bringing my D90 out to me in Hong Kong on Christmas day so it's pretty much going to be like, the BEST Christmas EVER this year! 

Soon this is how I will always be walking around!
I'm sorry if you're a bit disappointed in my news, but it IS big news to me and I'm quite happy and excited about it. Just thought I'd share...

How excited are YOU to see my photographs with my new D90?

© Connie Hum 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Montage Monday: Christmas

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! This Montage Monday, share in my three favorite Christmas memories from years past.

This photo sums up Christmas in San Diego, California perfectly. Sunshine and beaches, with a little Christmas decorations to remind you that it's actually December! It's a bit strange for me to experience such a warm Christmas, but you can't really complain when San Diego is just so lovely this time of year!

I love Christmas in NYC! There's so many beautiful decorations around! Here I took a photo of Neil, Nathan, Nelson (wow, so many N-names!) and my reflection on a Christmas ornament in one of the shops in SoHo.

A White Elephant Gift Exchange is a fun Christmas tradition with my family in California. Typical White Elephant "gifts" for us include socks, Chia Pets, lava lamps, soap dispensers and last year's most coveted gift: the Slanket!

Where is your favorite Christmas travel destination?

© Connie Hum 2010


Hi everyone!

I'm back into the social media world after a China-enforced month-long vacation. It's good to be back!

I'm currently in Hong Kong for the holidays and New Year's celebrations. It's pretty exciting and thrilling to be here.

Stayed tuned because I have some very interesting travel stories to share and VERY BIG NEWS to announce in the coming weeks!

Happy holidays to you and yours! Cheers to a great new year in 2011!

© Connie Hum 2010

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