Heya! I’m back again and this time would be about our 19 day trip to the United States of America! 🇺🇸✈️ If you followed my latest posts on Instagram then you would know what #LesVoyagesdeNica has been up to. Also, just last Wednesday, I posted the first of these USA trip blogs to come, just click here to check it out.
Our adventure began last May and after the stressful albeit exciting visa process for all 6 of us. We finally got to book our flights at China Airlines via cheapoair.com. Our flight itinerary is from Manila to Taipei, then Taipei to New York. It’ll be the longest flight we’ll take which topped our Israel trip and the longest number of days that topped our Asian trip.
*I will share the link of all the sites where you can purchase the tickets of our tour at the end of the blog*
Flight to Taipei
We went so early at the Terminal 1 of NAIA around 4am and the check in desk opens at around 7am while our flight is still at 10:35am. 😵 Terminal 1 is the oldest terminal in Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I kind of remember it during our Saudi Days where I would bawl everytime Papa left.
After we checked in, we had breakfast at the waiting area lounge, then waited for a bit and boarded to Taipei.
It is my first time to ride with China Airlines and I tell you. It was quite enjoyable! Though I would say, most of the food they served were pork. 😔 I don’t eat pork so it was really envious to see your seatmates chowing down on their meal. But since we didn’t indicate any preference on the food during our booking, we had to make do of what we can eat.
China Airlines served us one meal during our flight to Taiwan. Plus they have TV screens too which made the flight not too boring. We watched a couple of movies then dozed off. I wished I just slept, cause after a few minutes of sleeping in the pilot announced our arrival.
I didn’t get to see much of Taipei Taoyuan International Airport as we were on a 4 hour connecting flight to New York. We had to see were our boarding gate was before we get to roam around. There was a lot to see at the airport and we got to try out free tastings, free car racing video games and so much more. There were tiny museums of dolls and knick knacks all around. I hope we get to come back here in Taiwan and see more of this country.
After gallivanting, we changed clothes because…hygiene. Hehe. Then boarded for our long haul flight.
During the flight the airlines served us two meal courses, two to three snacks. They gave us two options on the menu which was really good since it was either chicken or pork or beef. At least we’ll get to eat!
JFK New York > Hotel Pennsylvania
We arrived at night in New York and it was cold! Thank goodness I had a sweater and scarf prepared but my legs were shaking! After passing through the Immigration and seeing JFK. I didn’t really expect that there was no wifi. 😞 I badly wanted to tweet. Hahaha.
We decided to take the subway and thankfully, the New York subway is almost open for 24 hours. I did Googled that on Taiwan, just tell me if I am wrong. Haha. We had to ask for directions as it was kind of a jungle to all of us. What is cool about JFK and like almost all airports we’ve been through is the train. They do have an Airtrain that you can freely use if you are on the airport and changing terminals.
We boarded the Airtrain going to Jamaica Station. Then bought the Metrocard tickets. Each Metrocard ticket can swipe for 4 people only. We bought two to swipe for 3 people each card. The thing about the Metrocard is that they are like loadable cards. You could load up to $100 and every swipe when you enter a station costs $2.75. When you exit, you don’t need to swipe. When we finally got that part our subway rides were smoother. Haha. It was truly different from every country we’ve been through.
From Jamaica Station you walk to Queens-Sutphin Blvd Station and there we boarded going to 34 St. Penn Station. There are signboards above the train telling you what the next station is, so you can chillax. 😂
We walked to our hotel which was just in front of Madison’s Square Garden and checked in at around 2am. It was a three star hotel, which in my opinion was not so bad at all. It was near the different tourist sites and near to almost three subway stations and to the Amtrak station. Though the facilities were old looking, we didn’t really encounter any issues at all. We ate our early breakfast/super late dinner at a gyro cart across our hotel and slept.
Amtrak Station > New York Water Taxi > Times Square > Central Park > Empire State Building
It was a jam packed adventure that day so we headed to the Amtrak station first at New York Penn Station. Be mindful of train station names as they are quite confusing. We bought our tickets to Birmingham and headed out to see more of New York.
We hopped on the subway at the station of W 34 St/7Av then went down on the South Ferry Station (Whitehall St Station). Out there we were met by New York Water Taxi agents. Initially, we wanted to go up the Statue of Liberty but we were told that we should have it booked a month ago. Bummer! Still we had other options.
We chose the New York Water Taxi hop on hop off all day access ride. We’ll be able to see the Brooklyn Bridge, Governor’s Island, Statue of Liberty and get off at Times Square. After buying the tickets we walked on to Pier 11. There we ate our breakfast from a gyro cart and hopped on the boat ride.
On our last stop we were told that there was a free bus ride going back to the city for passengers of the ferry. So we hopped on it again and we down to see Times Square.
If you have heard the news, just a few days after an 18 year old girl died and few other civilians were injured from a car that rammed them through Times Square. 😞 I do pray for the families of the victims and that justice may be given to them all. 🙏🏼 I can only thank the Lord for His continuing protection.
After Times Square, we walked to the Central Park and along the way enjoyed New York’s concrete jungle. Get that? Haha. Sarreh.
It was a huge park. I would suggest that you try renting a bike to see all of it. We rented two bikes, one single and onw tandem bike. I rode the tandem with my brother, cause I don’t know how to bike. Seriously, I really don’t and I’m scared of falling over. 😁😬
It took us an hour of biking and it was a good heart pumping event. My brother and I truly enjoyed that. For around $7-18 you can enjoy Central Park and it’s lush green view. You may also opt to rent a carriage or sleep under the trees which my grandparents did.
After Central Park, we walked back to our Hotel and napped until around 8:00pm. Then all four of us headed out to see the New York City lights. We didn’t really expect to see Empire State Building, my dad really wanted to check out Times Square once again. But we wanted to see a new view so we headed to Empire State.
We got there and learned that we could go up. My dad said, “Let’s go see the top. We weren’t able to at the Statue of Liberty, we might as well do it here.” 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 And so we did. We bought tickets up to the 86th floor only and it was around $34 for adults.
After Empire State we headed home to rest for the night.
Bryant Park > Grand Central Station > New York Public Library > Coney Island > Chelsea Market
On this second day of touring, we headed out for a quick breakfast on Salt and Pepper which was beside our hotel and walked going to Grand Central passing along Bryant Park and the NYPL.
It was quaint park that was a perfect place for coffee and quiet book reading. After a few strolling, we headed straight to see the Grand Central Station. All I could say was that it was so beautiful. 😍 Magnifico!
After being bedazzled by the Grand Central Station we headed out to see the NYPL. I remembered seeing this on the movie the Day After Tomorrow. Hehe.
It was free to roam around and see lots of books! It felt like Belle entering the Beast’s personal library. ❤️
We didn’t stay too long as we had another place to go by and this would take us about an hour of subway ride. We were heading to see Coney Island.
We went down the 5 Av Station beside the NYPL walked underground to the F Train to Coney Stillwell Station. We had to ask for directions so as not to board the wrong train.
Reaching there, we were probably the only ones in long sleeves as we all felt cold. Everyone was on their swimwear and here we are fully clothed. Hehe. But we enjoyed sightseeing and even had cold coffee cause despite the cold winds, the sun was beamingly hot. We headed home once again on a long train ride then walked back to our hotel and rested.
Around 4pm we walked to see Chelsea Market. I finally got to see the apartments that I use to see on movies and tv shows. Those small quiet street red bricked apartments are IG worthy. Hehe.
We enjoyed seeing lots of food at the market and there were different delicacies to try. After feasting our eyes we then headed back via a subway ride to our hotel and bought our dinner at Salt Pepper. Afterwards we packed our stuff another long ride the next day heading to Alabama.
24 hour train ride to Alabama
We had our breakfast checked out before 11am then headed to the Penn station of Amtrak. It was really hard to carry 6 huge luggages on the escalator, but we managed.
We checked our luggages in the counter. Each passenger is allowed 2 baggages, strictly 50lbs each and two carry on bags. We had to remove the excess and put them on the baggages that had less weight.
Since we are going through Amtrak we waited on the waiting area for Amtrak passengers where wifi is free. We then boarded as soon as our train was announced.
It was a comfy ride and we brought food to eat at the train. They do have a cafe lounge where you can buy food and coffee. It was a bit expensive though. When you bring your own food you may only eat it at your seat. You cannot bring that on the cafe lounge.
The train is also equipped with free wifi so you won’t have to be bored and still stay in connection. They also have electrical sockets on board so you won’t have to worry with your battery going empty.
After that long train ride, we finally met my aunt and her family, who I haven’t seen in 5 years. It was a tear-jerking moment for all of us. We stayed at their house and they welcomed us with a warm meal that we all enjoyed.
We ended the day through a grocery shopping in Walmart and other stores in Trussville. It was my first Walmart shopping ever and I really like it that it was wifi equipped. Now I understood why some van living explorers on Youtube park on Walmart overnight for the free wifi. Hehe 😜
The day 1-5 ends here first. Stay tune for a whole lot more of my US adventure!
Check out the links below:
Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!
Special shout out to my IG photographer/brother, Nick for taking the awesome IG pics.