2020 Bucket List: Travel Destinations

Summer is less than two months away! Although there are still midterms and final exams to get through, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about the adventures you’ll be going on when school ends. Whether you’re looking for an extravagant grad trip, or just a nearby getaway, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for your top travel destinations recommended by CSA’s Marketing Department:

Taiwan

The summer following my grade 11 year was one of the most memorable times of my life; I was fortunate enough to attend a volunteer trip in Taiwan, a country I quickly fell in love with. Prior to this trip, I wasn’t the biggest fan of travelling through Asia, especially during the summer, since it’s so hot, but Taiwan changed my mind in a heartbeat. When I travel, I generally tend to prefer big cities and urban areas which of course, is a front upon which New Taipei City did not disappoint. However, the island’s beauty drew me to the quaintness of the older and more rural areas as well. Either way, there’s an abundance to see and do, from exploring the numerous night markets, to seeing views from the top of the Taipei 101, to being immersed in the various aspects of culture. Personally, I think you’ll get the most out of visiting if you are:

  1. A foodie (try an oyster omelette at a night market or have dim sum at the famed Din Tai Fung restaurant!),

  2. A skincare fanatic (Korean skincare at your local 7/11? Yes please!)

  3. A bubble tea drinker ($2 Coco’s? Ice cream milk tea? Need I say more?)

  4. A culture lover (the architecture and history behind temples and monuments like the Chiang Kai-shek are incredible)

  5. An adventurer (go biking along the Tamsui river, or visit the Yehliu Geopark!)

Taiwan forever has a piece of my heart, and if you give it a chance, I know it’ll steal yours too!

View of Taipei City from the top of Elephant Mountain

Portugal

A country blessed with stunning architecture, sandy beaches, and amazing food, it is a dream of mine to go backpacking in Portugal. Just imagine walking up to the coast in the morning like a local and admiring the view of the coast. One of the must-do’s in Portugal is cliff diving in the Algarve. It is the most thrilling (and terrifying) experience that every adrenaline junkie must do! The experience gets better as you swim in the ocean and through the caves! Whether you want to relax at the beach, enjoy the local community (with very cheap food), or go on adventure, Portugal has it all.

Morning view of Portugal

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is hands down my favourite city in the United States. Period. 

You might know San Francisco as the city where the Golden Gate Bridge lives, or the world’s top innovation and tech hub. However, it’s so much more than that. Here are some reasons why San Francisco is truly special: 

  1. THE FOG: The city’s fog is super unpredictable, and not to mention, super famous. So famous that they gave it a name – Karl!

  2. THE FOOD: There is a wide variety of food – over 3,500 restaurants to be exact – for you to enjoy when you get tired of walking the rolling hills and sidewalks. Thai and American fusion cuisine, trendy coffee shops, heavenly matcha gelato in Japan Town, sourdough bread and clam chowder, the list is endless

  3. THE DIVERSITY: One minute you’re gazing at Victorian houses, and before you know it you’re passing by Mexican street murals and entering North America’s first Chinatown!

  4. THE POSSIBILITIES: While you’re there, there are many day trips you can take to nearby areas, such as Santa Monica beach, Alcatraz Island, and Yosemite National Park

If you’re thinking of making San Francisco your summer trip, let’s head over together! Did you think I was only going there once?

In Union Square, one of the 131 heart sculptures found around the city

Japan and Korea

I might be a little biased, but my favourite travel destinations have to be the East Asian countries, namely, South Korea and Japan. With their close proximity, you can have a trip visiting both without blowing out your bank account and it truly is a once in a lifetime experience. Japan—the only word I could describe it as is truly beautiful. From the food (you must try Otoro if you go), to the amazing culture and the scenery (it’s literally like scenes straight out an anime) it is nothing short of mesmerizing. Korea—to me feels like a perfect amalgamation between my asian heritage and Western culture. I felt like I was home in a place I’ve never been before. Walking down Seoul at night with people you love makes you forget about all your worries—it’s a reminder that everything will be okay. I’ve been unbelievably lucky and privileged to be able to visit these places, but go if you ever get the chance to! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Han River in Seoul, Korea

Montreal, Quebec

Whether it’s summer or winter, Montreal is an affordable and beautiful place to visit within Canada. The bilingual city boasts beautiful architecture, diverse food selections, deep-rooted history, and a lively arts and culture scene. If you love European-style architecture but can’t afford the tickets across the pond, visit Montreal for its mix of historical and modern architecture, from the Notre-Dame Basilica to the Montreal Olympic Stadium, and unique attractions such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The large variety of foodie hotspots includes local specialties such as poutine, maple syrup and smoked meats, as well as public markets with assorted vendors, farmers and producers. Montreal is home to many festivals as well, including Osheaga music festival in the summer, and the Carnaval cultural festival in the winter.

Personally, my favourite part about visiting Montreal is being able to easily practice my French while having English as a crutch. The city itself is quite diverse, whether it be the food, architecture, or demographics. The people I’ve met in Montreal have been extremely friendly, not to mention the beautiful architecture and scenery that changes with the seasons. I’d love to revisit the city in the summer, explore its nightlife, and experience more of its foodie and cultural scene. Bonus points to Montreal for being accessible and affordable to travel to!

View of Le Château Frontenac and St. Lawrence River from La Citadelle

In short, these six destinations definitely need to be on your bucket list of places to experience. We’re not telling you to drop everything and book your flight now, but hey – it’s not a bad idea. From the Marketing Department, we wish you the best of luck with your exams this year, and most of all, happy and safe travels!