Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery – Vipassana in Thailand

Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery – Vipassana in Thailand

Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery – Vipassana in Thailand

Some do it to find themselves, others just to disconnect for some time. For me, the four days at Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery were a mix of both.

After my mother’s death, some things in my life were just too much for me. I had also changed a lot to be near her during her last months. Now I didn’t know where my place was anymore. Friends asked why I couldn’t just restart where I left off the year before. At the beginning, I didn’t know how to answer that. I just knew it felt wrong.

And so it came, that I wanted to spend a few days in silence. Only with my thoughts accompanied by the monks’ and the other participants’ chanting.

Two side notes: First, you can stay between two and ten days as long as you want. You can just go there without kind of “booking”. I know that sounds a bit scary, but it’s really no problem. And second, I originally wanted to stay there for five nights, but then I shortened it to four, as you will read below.

How to get to Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

The trip by minivan takes about four hours from Chiang Mai. Book a trip to Mae Hong Son (about 250 Baht) and tell the driver that you want to be dropped off at Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery.

The road is curvy and can be quite stomach-churning. I have done this trip several times and I have to say that it seems to change. Sometimes I get extremely nauseous, sometimes I can relax and enjoy the landscape, even look at my phone. But maybe it is also due to the driving style of the respective driver…

If you don’t want to take all the curves at once, you can make a stopover in the famous hippie village of Pai. This village is about halfway between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son City. In the province of the same name you are already here and can enjoy the special flair of the village on the night market of the main street.

Alternatively you can take the bus from Bangkok directly to Mae Hong Son and from where you can take the minivan to Pai or Chiang Mai. From there it takes about one hour.

 

Arriving at Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery is paradise. The compound is quite large although it won’t feel like it if you spend a lot of time there. Try to explore it a little bit and maybe sit quietly at the idyllically rippling brook or the big pond.

Das Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

The most important place for you is the Dharma Hall. This is where the meditations take place, or in the case of walking meditation (I explain the different meditations in the following), this is the starting point. By the way, men and women sit separately, which the volunteers always remind you of in case you forget. There is an area with cushions and there are chairs at the edge, so if you don’t want to or can’t kneel for that long, it’s absolutely no problem. You can also switch from the seat cushion to the chair during the meditation if you are in pain.

Die Dharma Hall von außen – Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

Die Dharma Hall – Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

This is also where the “reception” is located, meaning your first point of contact and your hub in case you have any questions.

Next to the reception is a small library, where you will find numerous books on Buddhism, as well as the book Walk to the Knower, which is a kind of guide for your time doing Vipassana in Thailand.

Library – Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

On the wall opposite to the library there is a little ‘buffet’ waiting for you: tea, coffee and sometimes powder for hot chocolate.

On the other side of the shelves are tables where you can read during the day and at the appropriate time this area turns into the dining room.

 

White clothing

When I got there, I got my white clothes. You can either bring your own or borrow some there. It’s free and you can always go to the cottage with the clothes if you need a new t-shirt or trousers. Right next door is a cottage with a laundry. There you can hand in used clothes.

Ich im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

 

Kuti vs dormitory

Then, I was assigned a Kuti – a small hut. I was lucky enough to get a Kuti of my own. Because there are dormitories there, too, where dozens of people sleep.

For me, personally, it was important to be alone with myself in silence. I probably wouldn’t have been very happy in a dormitory.

Whether it’s a dormitory or a Kuti, your ‘home’ is very simple: you get a mat that to put on the floor, a blanket and a pillow. I personally got very cold at night, although I additionally had my own blanket and slept with long clothes. I think the cold just goes through the wood. Fortunately, I always travel with a hot water bottle, so it was ok. But I was never really warm at night.

Mein Kuti im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

Even if you have your own Kuti, there’s nothing else in the room. There is a small bathroom attached. However, there is no hot water and you will not find mirrors in the whole monastery.

Kutis im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

 

Silent Badge

It’s not obligatory to go silent at Wat Pa Tam Wua as it is the rule in other Vipassana places. Therefore, 90 percent of the other visitors chatted and laughed. This is not very pleasant and makes it extremely difficult if you want to be silent yourself. If you want to try yourself to stay silence during your stay, you can always take a Silent Badget from the reception and put it on.

Silent Badges im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

I tried to stay as far away as possible from the talking people, but that is not always possible.

Besides, I had an awful lot of questions buzzing around in my head. And I am not talking about the questions that silenced me and needed silence to be answered. I’m talking about questions for which one has to talk, because one can’t find the answer in oneself, like “Where is the monastery shop or café?” or “How do I get to the caves and how far away are they?” Also, many questions about meditation or Buddhism in general started to come up in my head. It was hard for me to concentrate on meditation when I wanted to know in which language people chanted, what Dharma was or why monks’ robes were brown/orange and their heads usually shaved.

 

Routines at the monastery

Every day follows the same pattern. There is a timetable that must be adhered to. As a guest you commit yourself on arrival to always participate in at least the activities in bold print. Absence requires good reasons.

The timetable

  • 05:00 Morning meditation in your kuti.
  • 06:30 Rice offering to the monks.
  • 07:00 Breakfast.
  • 08:00 Morning Dharma talk, and meditation class.
  • 10:30 Food offering to the monks.
  • 11:00 Lunch.
  • 13:00 Afternoon Dharma talk and meditation class.
  • 16:00 Cleaning the area and helping in the monastery.
  • 17:00 Free time.
  • 18:00 Evening Chanting, meditation and Dharma talk.
  • 20:00 Meditation on your own, or have tea, coffee, hot chocolate & relax.
  • 22:00 Rest time.

 

Meals

Buddhist monks are vegans. Therefore you will not find any animal products at the monastery. Whether you like it or not: During your time here you have to eat vegan or bring your own food.

At 6:30 am the Rice Offering will take place at the Dharma Hall. All guests line up on their knees to give each monk a spoonful of rice in a bowl. This is a tradition of Buddhism that can be observed every morning not only in monasteries and temples, but also in the streets of Thailand and other Buddhist countries.

Rice Offering to the Monks – Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

Only then you can help yourself: There is a buffet with Thai breakfast. So you’ll mainly find rice, rice soup, vegetables and maybe roots and fruits.

Lunch is at 11:00 am, which also follows an offering. This time you don’t offer rice to the monks, but the food in general, which is then part of the buffet. This is of course vegan again.

Lunch is the last meal of the day. After lunch there is some fruits and otherwise only the small shop at the other end of the compound where you can buy noodle soup, chips or soft drinks.

 

Meditation

There are three mandatory meditation sessions per day. First of all everyone meets in the Dharma Hall and before the morning and midday meditation one of the monks talks about Buddhism. Afterwards, there is a 45-minute walking meditation. The main point is to be mindful while walking and let your mantra become one with the walk. The recommended mantra is Bud (when inhaling) – dho (when exhaling), but you can also find your own mantra. This was important to me because Bud-dho didn’t mean anything to me. It worked much better when I found my own, meaningful mantra after two days.

Walking Meditation im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

Walking Meditation im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

After the walking meditation we continue with 45 minutes of sitting meditation in the Dharma Hall and directly afterwards 15 minutes of Lying meditation. Theoretically there is still the standing meditation after Buddha’s teachings, but in Wat Pa Tam Wua it is not part of the program.

Lying Meditation im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

The morning and noon meditation is roughly the same. The only difference is that the monk in charge stays after the noon meditation and answers questions. This was also a situation where I was unsure whether I’m allowed to ask questions wearing the Silent Badge.

The evening meditation is a little different from the other meditations. It starts with chanting. There is a Chanting Book for this and the monks tell you which page to open. This is followed by a 40-minute Lying Meditation and then a short speech by the leading monk.

Sitting Meditation im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

The chanting is in three languages: Thai and English I recognized immediately, but I didn’t know the third language. Then I found out that it was Pali.

On the last pages of the Chanting Book there is a FAQ section, which I unfortunately only found out about on my last day. A lot of questions are answered there and I wish I had known about it at the very beginning of my stay.

 

Cleaning and helping

This point is optional, but from my own experience I can tell you that sweeping leaves, for example, can be incredibly meditative. This is one of the tasks that you have to do every day and which you can almost never finish. It is important that you practice mindfulness. So it is not the point to talk to others while doing it. But in practice it happens naturally and I am also guilty. The peer pressure was just too strong and I’m really bad at ignoring what’s going on around me.

 

Free time

At first glance, it may seem like you have a lot of free time. But believe me: you will not have a lot of time for yourself in Wat Pa Tam Wua. For example, I had the problem that I usually go to bed at midnight at the earliest. Among other reasons, that has something to do with the fact that Thailand is five or six hours before Germany and midnight in Thailand is 6 pm in Germany. This means that I’m usually chatting with friends, family and customers until late at night. Also, my posts in social media do not go online until around 6 pm German time.

Even being offline at Wat Pa Tam Wua, I could not get used to this completely different rhythm from one day to the other. I had problems to fall asleep before midnight and then I was completely tired the next day. Because of this I often fell asleep during the meditations.

But you should try to take your time and explore the compound and surroundings. It is beautiful! Also the caves are worth a trip. Plan about two hours for it.

Caves – Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

Caves – Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

Caves – Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

 

My experience and thoughts

About being silent

For me, it was clear: Even if it is not obligatory to go silent in Wat Pa Tam Wua, nothing else would be possible for me.

However, I started to think about the silence. Am I allowed to talk to myself when I am alone? Can I ask short questions like “Where is the toilet?” What is the reason for the silence?

I came to the conclusion that silence has nothing to do with the physical state of not talking, but with the fact that you are left alone with your thoughts. So in my opinion it’s okay to talk to yourself even if you wear the Silent Badge. But on the other hand, it’s not ok to listen to conversations and somehow be passively part of them, even if you’re not talking and actively participating in the conversation. Because that way you would no longer be alone with your thoughts, but you would be thinking about the conversation.

On the second day, I swept the leaves in front of my Kuti. After about ten minutes a girl came and asked if she could help me. I nodded. Another girl came five minutes later. And then another one. All three of them had no Silent Badge and chatted happily about meditation and the meaning of mindful cleaning. So it didn’t take long until I decided that there was no point in remaining silent if I followed their conversations mentally and laughed with them, even without answering. Because by my definition I had already broken the silence IN MY HEAD… So I put my Silent Badge aside.

To cut a long story short: Although I managed to keep silent for a few hours a day and really stay with myself, I didn’t manage to keep silent all the time. If I had really wanted to pull through with it, I would have had to go somewhere else in a situation like when I was sweeping the leaves in order to continue being undisturbed and mindful.

 

About being offline

BUT… yes, there is a but. I went to Wat Pa Tam Forest Monastery for a reason. I wanted the answer to a burning question I was trying to find in the silence. And I found it! Surprisingly, I did not find it in the silence, although I believe that the answer was already within myself. But for some reason I could not see it. I could only see it when I was talking to the people I met at the monastery and talking to them about my question!

Then, I had a thought:

Maybe I still found the answer in the silence. Not in the silence of my voice or my thoughts, but in the silence of the modern world. Without all the “noise” that phones and computers create inside of us… Because even if I have not managed to stay physically silent, I have managed to stay offline and, therefore, silent in social media and messengers. So there was no noise or anything else from the outside world. I’m sure that this “silence” had a huge impact and was much more important than not talking!

When I understood all this and found my answer, I decided to leave the monastery earlier than planned. Although I enjoyed the stay and my answer was a great success, I also realized that it was not good for my health to stay there:

I was always cold (I’m just not made for walking barefoot all the time, and in my little Kuti I was cold day and night), I was always hungry (no food between 11am and 6:30am is not for me), and I was always tired (as I said before, the times just don’t match my biorhythm and I couldn’t get used to it). In addition, half of the visitors were sick, wore thick scarves, drank tea, coughed and took medication from the publicly accessible medicine cabinet.

I was therefore not surprised when, on the same day I left, I got a sore throat, fever, and then a pretty bad cold that accompanied me for four weeks.

 

Final thoughts

I wrote at the beginning that I did not know why I could not pick up where I had left off the year before. After my time in Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery I knew it: I am not the same person anymore.

Walking Meditation im Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery

We all keep changing constantly. Normally we don’t even notice it, because we continuously adapt our decisions and lives to these changes. At least as far as we can. But for eight months I was in the situation that I did not adapt anything to my preferences, but only to my family. After that you can’t go back as if nothing had ever happened.

Of course, the time in the monastery does not change reality. I was and still am very busy to process the death of my mother and I still don’t know exactly who this new Barbara actually is, who is so much more anchored in Germany and Europe than the old Barbara.

Nevertheless, I am grateful for the days of multi-layered silence, for the hours of meditation, for the valuable insights into the life of Buddhist monks. I wouldn’t want to miss this experience at all!

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

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Du suchst nach einem coolen Spot für digitale Nomaden in Südostasien? Dann solltest du dir unbedingt die Hauptstadt der digitalen Nomaden Chiang Mai anschauen!

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The Muir Woods National Monument – Magical Moments in a Sea of Trees

The Muir Woods National Monument – Magical Moments in a Sea of Trees

The Muir Woods National Monument – Magical Moments in a Sea of Trees

Muir Woods National Monument is a protected area for coastal sequoia trees about 20 km north of San Francisco.

Coastal sequoia trees or redwoods are the highest trees in the world and can reach up to 115 m in height. At Muir Woods National Monument, the highest trees are about 80 meters high.

Red Woods im Muir Woods National Monument

Within this park there are several trails. The signage here was much better than at Yosemite National Park, so that I could deliberately choose the longest trail (about 2.5 hours, the shortest trail was signposted with half an hour). I admit, one reason why I chose this trail was because of his name: Ocean View!

Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the name comes from the fact that once a fire had opened the view up to the ocean. Luckily, the trees have grown again today. But because of this the sea is no longer visible.

The climb was more or less steep. It took me about 1.5 hours to reach my destination. On the way, I enjoyed the peace and the special energy of this place. It is amazing how peaceful you feel in such a place. Did you ever experience something like this?

Red Woods im Muir Woods National Monument

Red Woods im Muir Woods National Monument

 

What would these hundreds of years old trees tell us if they were able to speak?

Then, I slowly made my way through the woods and out “of the sea”.

Muir Woods National Monument

From above I could see the Muir Woods National Monument – what a peaceful place! It was a wonderful day…

And a fantastic view!

Muir Woods National Monument

Afterwards, I went back to the cool thicket. Also in summer the dense redwoods let only little sunlight through, so that it is always much cooler there. So don’t forget to bring layers to not get cold. You spend most of your time in the woods anyway.

An hour later, I arrived back where I had started.

The main path, from which all trails start, leads along a stream, which creates a pleasant and almost meditative atmosphere through its quiet but constant splashing…

Red Woods im Muir Woods National Monument

The sequoia trees reinforce this feeling. I could have spent much more time here.

Red Woods im Muir Woods National Monument

Even those who are not so close to nature will feel something magical here – between the 500 to 700 year old trees – which the mind cannot understand and will never understand and which hopefully (!) will last for many more hundred years and will survive the age of humans.

Have you ever stood in front of these gigantic trees and even been able to touch them?

I think it’s only possible to understand their size and greatness when seeing it with your own eyes.

What do you think?

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USA

HIGHWAY 1

USA

5 COOL ACTIVITIES IN SAN FRANCISCO

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK


Highway 1 in California: About Beaches, Sunsets, Sea Lions & Whales

Highway 1 in California: About Beaches, Sunsets, Sea Lions & Whales

Highway 1 in California: About Beaches, Sunsets, Sea Lions & Whales

When you mention to Americans that you plan to drive Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco, it usually puts a smile on their face.

This road is known for its fantastic views of the sea.

I decided to rent a car, which I picked up in Los Angeles and returned to San Francisco.

The next day, I took advantage of having a car and drove to Santa Monica to the beach to the famous Santa Monica Pier and then to the beautiful Griffith Park, which has an observatory on the summit from where you have an incredible view of LA. It is also an excellent place to photograph the Hollywood sign.

Then, I started the real adventure! I put Santa Barbara as destination into my mobile phone and left LA.

Already this short distance was really beautiful: Over hills and through valleys I made my way to the north of California.

I was lucky with the weather, too. The sun was shining all the time and it was so warm that I had to switch on the air conditioning.

After about two hours I arrived in Santa Barbara, looked for a parking place near the pier and ate lunch by the sea, with the sound of the waves.

20 minutes later I was sitting in the car again, the sea to my left, and made my way up the well-known and popular Highway 1.

It leads right along the sea and winds partly through serpentines. There are parking spots so that you don’t miss any of the many postcard views. Have your camera ready!

An absolute highlight of this route for me was that on some beaches sea lions lay in the sun.

Big and small, loud and silent.

It was beautiful! I could hardly convince myself to move on.

My destination for the night was Monterey!

I reached it after dusk and found a place to stay in my car.

A friend of mine grew up there and she advised me to visit Fisherman’s Wharf and eat Clam Chowder there. What’s so special about it? It is served in a hollowed loaf of bread! Delicious!

On the internet I had asked for prices for whale watching tours. The tours all start at Fisherman’s Wharf, so I was in the right place. I went directly to the provider I chose online, got the promised discount if you refer to the website, and even got another discount of $2.50.

The whale watching tour lasted about three hours. Much longer than the tour I did in Patagonia.

However, it took much longer to get into open waters and within reach of whales.

When the boat finally stopped and we were close to the giants of the sea, they came up quite often, but unfortunately not really close to the boat.

These whales seemed to be shy compared to their relatives in Patagonia because there they swam constantly under our boat along and emerged directly beside it to take a deep breath.

I was still able to take some nice pictures. Or what do you think?

In the late afternoon I started my onwards journey to San Francisco – the drive was about two hours.

The way to Santa Cruz (about half an hour by car) continued along the sea, so that I could watch another breathtaking sunset.

After Santa Cruz, I left Highway 1.

Never before had I seen so many beautiful beaches, sunsets and animals in just two days.

So when you travel to California, you shouldn’t miss this experience and this beautiful route.

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You could also like the following blog posts

USA

MUIR WOODS NATIONAL MONUMENT

USA

5 COOL ACTIVITIES IN SAN FRANCISCO

USA

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Yosemite National Park – The Perfect Weekend Trip from San Francisco

Yosemite National Park – The Perfect Weekend Trip from San Francisco

Yosemite National Park – The Perfect Weekend Trip from San Francisco

The Yosemite National Park is located directly at the Sierra Nevada in the north of California.

In 1984 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its impressive granite rocks, waterfalls and Red Woods.

Red Wood Tree Yosemite Nationalpark

Yosemite National Park – How to get there

I arrived on a warm and sunny spring Saturday. I came by rental car from San Francisco. That’s about four hours by car.

As a visitor you only pay an entrance fee of 30 USD during the summer months and 25 USD in the winter months per car. Free parking is available in Yosemite National Park. However, as these are limited, you should consider arriving early. There is a shuttle bus system in the park that will take you anywhere. So you can get fully involved with nature.

 

Yosemite National Park – Accommodation

I only spent one night in Yosemite National Park. I slept in one of the tents in Yosemite Village. Alternatively you can stay overnight in a lodge, but of course the prices are not very backpacker friendly. Already the prices for a tent are quite high: You can expect about 100 USD. If you are traveling alone, this is not a bargain…

 

Yosmite National Park – The Trails

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the map I got at the entrance very helpful, so I needed more or less the whole first day to find my way around. Maybe you should really use the shuttle buses. I really wanted to go exploring alone with my rental car. I would probably not dare to do that again.

In addition, the trails are not sufficiently signposted. They usually only show their names, but not their length, difficulty and average running time (as was the case in the Muir Woods National Monument near San Francisco).

Barbara im Yosemite Nationalpark

That’s why I didn’t dare to start a hike after 4 pm. I was afraid to create only a fraction of the trail until I had to turn back so that I wouldn’t be surprised by the darkness.

So it happened that on Saturday I only drove to the individual viewpoints to which I could go by car.

It was nice anyway!

 

Yosemite National Park – The Mirror Lake Tour

On the second day I decided for the tour to Mirror Lake in the morning and the 4-Miles-Trail at noon.

Unfortunately, Mirror Lake was almost dry… In winter, it hadn’t snowed very much and the ice hadn’t melted yet. Nevertheless I could take quite a picture, or what do you think?

 

Yosemite National Park – The 4-Miles-Trail

The 4-Miles-Trail was a tough one! It was steep all the way.

It was quite exhausting, but it was worth the effort!

Because the view was magnificent!

That’s where I made my vlog. You can watch it on Youtube if you understand German: Gruß aus dem Yosemite National Park!

 

 

My conclusion

The Yosemite National Park is not only an absolute landmark of California, but also a must for every nature lover. Here you feel one with nature. At times I didn’t meet a soul and had the hiking trail almost for myself. Maybe it was because of the low season. Unfortunately, I have no comparison. But it was definitely beautiful!

Have you ever been to Yosemite National Park? Isn’t it just fantastic there?

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USA

THE HIGHWAY 1

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5 COOL ACTIVITIES IN SAN FRANCISCO

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MUIR WOODS NATIONAL MONUMENT

Hotel Triton – San Francisco Hotel Tip

Hotel Triton – San Francisco Hotel Tip

Hotel Triton – San Francisco Hotel Tip

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San Francisco is one of the most exciting cities in the world for me. In 2015, it was at the top of my bucket list during my trip around the world – at that time I wrote about what I had noticed in particular: the stark contrast between the old hippies and the glamour of the USA. Today, I still notice that when I walk through the streets but I still try to perceive other aspects as well or even more. Of course, I needed a starting point for my explorations. This was the Hotel Triton during my last visit to San Francisco.

Hotel Triton – Hotel & Location

On an inconspicuous street corner on Grant Avenue in San Francisco, three major neighborhoods meet: Union Square, Chinatown, and the Financial District. The meeting of these three quarters led to the name of the hotel – Triton. To be honest, I never noticed that the word “tri” (three) is part of the word Triton. And apart from the trident, I see no reason to associate the number with the name. But I like to be inspired to think and do some research.

Perfectly located at the crossroads of these three quarters of San Francisco, hotel guests can immerse themselves in the culture from the very first moment. Just around the corner, for example, you can jump on a cable car. If you go in the other direction you come to a central junction of metro and bart – the local train system with which you can get to the airport on one side and to Oakland on the other.

(Attention: San Francisco wants to get away from paper tickets. That’s a great thing in principle, but not very practical if you’re a tourist and really only need one ticket for one trip. The plastic card costs 3 USD. The employees at the stations were unfortunately no help at all.)

And for business travelers, the hotel is located directly at the banking district.

Since 1913, Hotel Triton has welcomed its visitors with 140 guest rooms and suites, each with its own charm. Always with the concept of Hygge – thus a cordial, cheerful atmosphere – in mind, the hotel was designed with a lot of love for the detail.

 

Hotel Triton – Lobby, Library & Art Exhibition

The lobby is a real eye-catcher. Right here you get the feeling to sit with a friend in his living room. That’s why the lobby is not called a lobby – anyone can do that! – but Living Room.

Lobby / Living Room Triton Hotel San Francisco

Photo credits: RoseInk

Each piece of furniture tells a unique story here. Travel is always the central theme. Same goes for the books that are on display.

In the lobby there is also a display case with a mural that was discovered behind the walls during renovation work in 2018. The artwork was created by the Persian artist John Oshanna in the 1940s and features Mission Dolores, San Francisco’s oldest intact mission, built in 1776 – also the oldest building in San Francisco – and the City Hall.

Photo credits: RoseInk

On a mezzanine floor and in the living room, top-class art collections by local and international artists await you. Up-and-coming artists from San Francisco can host public exhibitions at the Hotel Triton.

 

Hotel Triton – The Rooms

You choose between three different categories:

  • There are Deluxe Rooms with king-size, queen-size and two double beds. In this smallest category you have a small, padded bench to sit on.
  • Premium King Rooms are 20 square meters and have a king-size bed waiting for you and your beauty sleep. The shower is spacious and at ground level, only separated from the toilet by a glass pane.
  • And on the other hand there are the Grant Avenue Studio Suites. Here you have more than 32 square meters at your disposal. They are all individually designed to reflect the coziness you would enjoy in a friend’s guest room. Also here you sleep in a king-size bed.

 

 

Hotel Triton – Breakfast & Dinner

San Francisco is a paradise for foodies (hence my tip for a food tour in my post about 5 cool activities in San Francisco) and directly at the Hotel Triton there are two restaurants.

On one side, there is the Café de la Presse – an authentic French bistro that is popular with locals and tourists alike. Here you’ll find delicious Eggs Benedict and Pancakes – you will lick your fingers after eating.

On the other side is Herlen Place, a lively café that turns into a cool wine bar in the evening. Here you can enjoy finger food.

The Hotel Triton also offers room service from the Café de la Presse: you can call it on weekdays from 7:30 to 21:30 and on weekends from 8:30 to 21:00.

 

Hotel Triton – The Gym

Those who don’t want to neglect their fitness during their stay in San Francisco can get active around the clock in the hotel’s own gym. There are machines such as a treadmill and also free weights.

So you can stay in shape during your holiday or business trip!

 

Hotel Triton – Final Thoughts

The room was cozy, the hotel staff was friendly and always helpful, and the location speaks for itself.

I would go back to Hotel Triton!

If you also want to stay at Hotel Triton, you can check here if there are still rooms available and book right away: Hotel Triton on Booking*. Alternatively, you can browse through the other hotels in San Francisco: Hotels in San Francisco on Booking*.

PS: I have been invited to this press trip to San Francisco by SFTravel. I didn’t get any monetary compensation. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced by this collaboration.

PPS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. Click here if you don’t know what that is: What is an affiliate link?

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San Francisco – 5 Cool Activities for the Californian Metropolis

San Francisco – 5 Cool Activities for the Californian Metropolis

San Francisco – 5 Cool Activities for the Californian Metropolis

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San Francisco is a very special city. I already reported about the hippie charm, but also the sad remnant of the former generation who celebrated the Summer of Love with flowers in their hair, in my article from 2015. As far as I can tell, not much has changed.

Today, I would like to tell you about five activities in San Francisco that might not be on your radar and that open up a new perspective on this unique city.

#1 Urban Hike

When I saw that you can book Urban Hike Tours in San Francisco, I first thought that you would probably walk up and down the many hills of the city and admire the beautiful Victorian houses.

That’s also part of the tour, no question about it. But actually it’s the smaller part. The tour I was on with Urban Hiker San Francisco started at the Castro Theatre and led up to the Twin Peaks and back again on the other side. Doesn’t sound so exciting? Then wait and see!

 

The Houses

I’ll start with the obvious: the Victorian houses and magnificent buildings line part of the way up to the hills. They shine in many colours and look – each one in its own way – like you’ve been built into a movie. Our knowledgeable guide Kevin knows how to entertain us. With the right sense of humor he is telling anekdotes about the city.

Did you know that each of these houses with more than three colours is called Painted Lady. Until then we all thought that this would only apply to the well-known houses from films and series like Charmed and Full House.

Viktorianische Häuser San Francisco

Viktorianische Häuser San Francisco

Viktorianische Häuser San Francisco

 

The Decorations

This might not sound like something too special. But by the decorations you can understand a fair bit of the people’s traditions. Since it was shortly before Halloween, many houses had Halloween decorations – some of them bizarre, some of them funny.

Halloweenschmuck San Francisco

Halloweenschmuck San Francisco

Halloweenschmuck San Francisco

 

The Views

The higher you go, the better the view, of course. After a short time you will see the skyline towering above the rooftops. A majestic sight! And it got better with every meter. The first hill we reached was called Kite Hill. From there we already had a perfect view of the skyline but also of the surrounding hills so that Kevin could tell us their names and backgrounds. Some of the hills could not be built on, while others were deliberately left natural to have wooded areas over the entire city area.

Ausblick Skyline San Francisco

Ausblick Skyline San Francisco

 

The Forest

I just said it: wooded areas. Maybe you just shook your head in disbelief. In a metropolis like San Francisco, there’s no forest!

But if this is what you thought you’re wrong. San Francisco has a lot of woodland, even if most of it is not endemic.

Wald San Francisco

Wald San Francisco

Directly after Kite Hill follows the first short forest section – with an old villa stands right in the beginning. Again, I got the impression that things were out of place. This spooky villa kind of appreared out of nowhere. In the middle of a city. That’s a bit crazy!

Wald San Francisco

 

Geographic Center of the City

On the way to the Twin Peaks you will also pass what I think is a pretty cool place. Quite unobtrusive and small, usually people just walk over it. But there is a mark on the sidewalk. That’s the geographic center of San Francisco. Pretty cool, isn’t it? But you have to know where it is. Otherwise, you’ll probably just walk over it, too…

Geografisches Zentrum San Francisco

 

#2 E-Scooter Tour

If you want to see the city in a completely different way, just take an e-scooter tour!

E-Scooter-Tour San Francisco

The tour that I did with Electric Tour Co. started very close to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 – one of the classics of San Francisco that you should definitely not miss. You can actually connect those two things very well. Also, one of the Cable Car’s routes ends here, so you can take a ride with this symbol of San Francisco to get here.

Before the tour you will get a helmet and a kind of warning vest from your guide. You will also get some safety instructions about riding the e-scooter. The tours take place with a maximum of ten people per guide.

From there we went along the sea, San Francisco Bay always to the right and the city skyline to the left, direction Golden Gate Bridge. It is really impressive how the bridge gets closer and bigger.

E-Scooter-Tour San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge auf der E-Scooter-Tour San Francisco

On the way back you will pass Lucas Arts where you will be greeted by a statue of Master Yoda. You’ll also take a detour past the Museum of Fine Arts, which really looks great.

Lucas Arts San Francisco

Museum of Fine Arts San Francisco

Pro Tip: Depending on what time of the year you are here, I recommend you pack a thick jacket, scarf and even gloves. At 15 km/h it can get quite chilly. And that’s not even top speed: Compared to Germany, where you can’t go faster than 20 km/h, you can really speed up in the USA! 40 km/h are completely legal here.

 

#3 Sunset Cruise

For a romantic experience, I recommend the Sunset Cruise to the Golden Bridge. I did this with Adventure Cat Sailing.

It also starts at Fisherman’s Wharf and directly at Pier 39. In a two-hour tour, the cruise takes you directly in front of Baker Beach and thus you cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge. So you have a completely different perspective and you will be able to take some very special photos.

Sunset Cruise San Francisco Adventure Cat Sailing

If the weather allows it, don’t miss the opportunity to sit on the front of the catamaran or at its net. Like this, you have the ideal view.

Snacks as well as hot and cold drinks are provided. Two drinks and the small buffet are included in the ticket.

 

#4 Food Tour

I’m not really a foodie, but in San Francisco, food has a very special place. This is reflected, for example, in the fact that there are the most restaurants per inhabitant than in any other American city.

You can either go on a tour alone and explore the best bakeries, cafés and restaurants in San Francisco. Or you can go on a guided food tour. Since I’m always full too quickly, I usually choose variant 1, so here are a few tips I’ve tried myself:

I had by far the best breakfast at Le Marais Bakery in the Castro. Super yummy!

Frühstück Le Marais Bakery San Francisco

I also had great breakfast at Rose’s Café. They serve breakfast pizza. Yes, you read that correctly: BreakfastPIZZA! You can order them either with fried eggs and bacon or with salmon and scrambled eggs.

Frühstückspizza Rose's Café San Francisco

If you want to enjoy lunch with seafood and fish at the Fisherman’s Wharf I would recommend to choose Eagle Café.

Eagle Café San Francisco

For traditional, american sandwichs for lunch, go to Presidio Social Club.

Presidio Social Club San Francisco

For dinner, check out Herlen Place in Downtown. They mainly have finger food and mini burger, which gives you the chance to basically try everything on the menu specially if you’re going with a group.

Herlen Place San Francisco

Herlen Place San Francisco

Want a taste of China Town? For great Asian cuisine I would suggest the newly opened China Live Restaurant.

China Live Restaurant San Francisco

Photo credits: Laura Schneider von Herz an Hirn

 

#5 Salesforce Park

Salesforce Park is the newest public park in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Opened in August 2018, this walkway is surrounded by lawns and fountains and lined with benches that invite you to sit down and enjoy the beautiful Californian day. The park is home to 600 trees and 16,000 plants in 13 different botanical areas. There is a children’s playground and a theatre for free events such as Yoga, Zumba® and Co.

Just over 20 meters above the Great Hall, the park extends over the entire length of the Transit Center’s almost four-blocks long route.

Photo credits: San Francisco Travel Association

The park offers not only cool photo spots for your Instagram account, but is also a nice alternative if you just want to relax.

 

Hotel San Francisco

For these five cool activities in San Francisco, you need a strategically located starting point. At my last visit, I stayed at the Hotel Triton. The location right where China Town, Union Square and the Financial District converge is ideal. Whether you are a tourist or a business traveller!

I wrote an own post about this hotel in San Francisco:

Hotel Triton

 

Final Thoughts

These five cool activities in San Francisco show you the famous city of the Bay Area from completely different perspectives. Whether by foot, on two wheels, by boat, through the local cuisine, or by visiting a park where the locals come to relax… This way you can get to know the many facets of San Francisco in different ways.

Which of the five activities is your favorite?

PS: I have been invited to this press trip to San Francisco by SFTravel. I didn’t get any monetary compensation. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced by this collaboration.

Did you like this blog post?

Share it in your social networks!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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