Taipei, Taiwan | #CatCarlTravels

Carl and I recently explored Taipei as part of a long weekend trip with my cousins and it’s safe to say that pretty city surprised us. While many people still opt for Japan, HK, or Singapore, Taipei offers clean streets, an artsy culture, pleasant people, and delicious food. Being less than two hours away, it is definitely a destination worth checking out. Here are some pictures from our trip. Our itinerary is at the bottom of this post and some travel tips!

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial

1914 Huasan Creative Park 

Taipei 101 

Addiction Aquatic Development 

Songshan Creative Park 

Yehliu Geological Park 

Jiufen Old Road

Shilin Night Market

Bunker 42

Via Hotel Ximen

Where did we stay: Via Hotel Ximen (a cute little hotel in between lots of great shopping and restaurants)


Day 1:
Drop bags at hotel and hit Raohe Night Market (we feasted on xiao long boa, scallion pancakes, and beef pepper buns)

Day 2:
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial: Be sure to time your visit with the changing of the guards.
1914 Huasan Creative Park: Lots of cool art exhibits and stores.
Taipe 101: On a clear day head to the top for a gorgeous view of Taipei
Elixir Hot Pot: We found this place online for dinner and it was the best hotpot I’ve had. Make a reservation.

Day 3
Addiction Aquatic Development: Check out the prettiest fish market and have lunch there.
Lunch at La Mer: if you want to spend a little, have lunch at La Mer and
Eslite Bookstore near Songshan Creative Park: Stop by the ground floor for the DIY section.
Da Wan Dinner– A must eat! A casual dining experience all about the quality of meat. Make a reservation ahead!
Bunker 42:  A fun little bar right beside Da Wan.

Day 4
Yehliu- A very cool geological park with mushroom rock formations. Be sure to bring a hat and wear sunscreen.
Jiufen- An old mining town with an old road filled with interesting stores and food stalls. Be sure to stop by the Tea House that inspired Miyazaki’s ‘Spiriting Away’
Golden waterfalls- Honestly nothing to write home about. You see this waterfall on the way up to Jiufen.
Shillin Night Market- The biggest night market. Check out the basement food court and side streets. So many delicious food options, we loved the beef noodle soup, pepper buns, pork rolls, scallion pancakes, and pound cake.

Things to Know:

  1. It’s best to change money in the airport. Money changers are few and far between in the city.
  2. Using Uber is a great way to get around. Taxis barely speak English and sometimes refuse to take you where you want to go.
  3. We went in August and it was HOT. Be sure to bring shorts and dresses.
  4. Enjoy stocking up on sheet masks and beauty products! So many nice ones!

How to Make the Most of Your Club Paradise Palawan Experience

As you all know, one of my favorite destinations in the Philippines is Club Paradise Palawan. This beautiful little island in Coron holds so many happy memories for Carl and I. Initially, it was where we had our dream wedding back in 2011 and it has been our favorite family destination for us ever since. You can read my blog post here on why we feel it’s the best wedding destination in Coron.

We’ve returned to the island many times after because this little island can handle more than just weddings, it’s also the best destination for a Coron honeymoon as well as for family getaways. From its powder white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, comfortable amenities and friendly staff, Club Paradise Palawan is the perfect getaway for your post-wedding mini honeymoon or even just to relax with your entire family.

Here are pictures from our recent trip and some tips on how to make a trip to Club Paradise Palawan one of the best getaways you’ve ever had.

TIP 1: Book a Sunset Villa

All the accommodations in Club Paradise Palawan are extremely comfortable, but if you can, I highly recommend you book one of the sunset villas for your stay. These lovely little houses right by the beach are far enough from each other to still be private and comfortable enough to fit a family of four. These villas are so comfortable you’ll be hard-pressed to leave for any amount of time.

Tip 2: Take Advantage of Happy Hour

Club Paradise Palawan offers an assortment of drink promos during sunset happy hours that are definitely worth exploring. Have a daiquiri or an ice-cold beer as you watch the egg yolk like sun melt into the sea and the bats come out to play.

Tip 3: Make Reservations for a Boodle Fight

A Boodle Fight is a Philippine military custom where cadets gather around a smorgasbord of various meats, rice, and vegetables placed over banana leaves. You must eat all together with your hands. I highly recommend you try this tradition at Club Paradise Palawan. The adobo is to die for and the seafood is cooked all together in a delicious broth of spices. I begged for a bowl of the broth just so I could eat it with a clam shell. I seriously still dream about this boodle fight till today!

Tip 4: Check What Activities Are Available 

The wonderful thing about Club Paradise Palawan is that each visit is never quite the same. There are always a number of activities that the staff prepare for you and your family to make your stay even more enjoyable. For instance, the last time we were there was Earth Hour, so after having dinner by candlelight, the kids were treated to an outdoor movie with unlimited popcorn. They often also have arts and crafts and little explorer sets for the kids. For couples, you can have a romantic dinner by the ocean away from everyone else.

Tip 5: Get to Know the Staff

The charm of Club Paradise Palawan comes a lot from the people who continue to work hard to keep her beautiful and make your experience magical. They love offering personal service and greet you like old friends when you revisit. They even remembered the names of friends of mine who stayed a few years before! As soon as they know your needs, they will be there for you.

Executive Chef Bruce Subia

Club Paradise Palawan musicians

Hotel Manager, Joegil Escobar

Guest Services Associates, Bea and Justin

Learn more about Club Paradise and book your stay through their:

Website | Facebook Page | Instagram

Or email


Kruger Park, South Africa | #CatCarlTravels

If you were to ask me which part of our South African adventure I loved the most, I would easily answer that it was being at Kruger Park. Being in nature in its rawest form was extremely powerful and the long hours on game drive to witness the animals in their natural habitat felt very meditative.

We spent three nights and four days at Kruger Park and stayed at the charming Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge, a very small (only 6 rooms) game lodge 2 hours from the closest gate to enter Kruger from Johannesburg. The beauty of staying in such a small lodge was that we had the entire place to ourselves and the staff were so kind and treated us like guests in their home, spoiling us every step of the way. Where else can you be lounging by the pool and the waiter begs you to let him make you a drink, free of charge!

We would wake up at 5AM every day to head out on our early morning game drives from 530AM till 9AM. These were some of the coldest times, but it was worth it to see the animals while they were still active.

A lot of you have been asking questions about the game drives, so I’m going to share some helpful tips at the bottom of this post:

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