Now it is time to speak a little about the places to visit in the paradise called Vancouver. First of all, when you are in Vancouver, it is like Los Angeles, you can find everything and see the movies being shot. It is really enjoyable. As for food, there are so many different places you can find food you like, if you are veggie, it is not a problem at all. Vancouver recently had debates concerning vegetarianism and the opportunities for the citizens. So, Vancouver is becoming one of the major vegetarian cities of Canada.
Previous Vancouver travel tips:
Well, my advice concerning places, I guess you would like to see everything, but it is hard to be everywhere if you are limited in time. So, try to choose what you really want to see and get there. The easiest place to start with is Waterfront. You get to the station and when you get off you can go any direction. If you turn left, you can go to Gastown, a wonderful place, most of souvenir / gift shops are located in that part. As for souvenirs, if you want to find some not expensive, I would not say cheap, then you have to walk till you see the famous Steam Clock and keep going straight. As you pass two or three shops you will see some of those gift / souvenir shops in which prices are not high.
Speaking about sightseeing places, the viewing deck of the Vancouver Lookout tower is just one block away from Gastown if you are headed away from the Water street. There you can also find some gift shops as well as small cafes and many interesting buildings, places, small parks nearby. But when you are in the elevator getting you to the top level of the viewing deck, you are going to be amazed and charmed by the beauty of the city skyline with picturesque mountains and ocean views, with skyscrapers and small unique buildings. So do not miss your chance to go up to the tower.
If you decide to turn right from the station, you will get to Canada Place, a wonderful harbour with lots of tourist attractions. Beside different excursions offered during the weekdays, you can simply walk a little farther to Vancouver Convention Centre and see a statue of a whale, the Olympic symbol made of glass, which looks terrific, and, of course, the view to the ocean itself. When you are at the harbour, you can see the other side of the shore and feel the breezy wind. As one of the most unusual “features” at the harbour, people can walk on the pedestrian lane with all the major cities on it, so basically you can walk all across Canada.
Just beside to Canada Place you can see different luxury hotels, which offer the highest service possible. One look at them takes your breath away, but when you get inside of the hotel, either Fairmont Waterfront Hotel or Pan Pacific Hotel Vancouver, you are amazed to the depth of the bones. The interior is totally inspirational, inviting and luxurious. And I am pretty much sure guests enjoy the place as well as its visitors.
From Canada Place you can walk directly to downtown; you can see all the major streets and avenues, roads and walkways. Vancouver is very different being very similar to other Canadian cities. But in fact, no, Vancouver is unique, perhaps, due to its location. Beautiful view to the mountains makes everything so unforgettable and amazing in this city. A view to the ocean, mountains and the skyline of downtown, all this makes Vancouver so outstanding and special to people living there and guests visiting it.
But there is one remark. If you go down Hastings St. you might find yourself in unsafe part of the district. There is nothing wrong with it (just one-two blocks) but make sure you either have a company or keep yourself out of that part of the district.
Another place I would love to recommend you is 4th Avenue. To get there you can either take a bus 84 from VCC-Clark station or buses 4 or 6 going from Granville station.
From 4th Avenue you can walk down to the shore line and get to the “Seawall”, a walk which goes all along the shore of Vancouver. I enjoyed this walk myself and I was so happy to have such a chance to be there and to see it all with my own eyes. Anyone who gets there can feel how amazing it is and how glorious the mountains look.
Down that “Seawall” you can walk to Granville Island, a small island, located in the heart of Vancouver, where citizens, guests and visitors can feel the spirit of the city at the same time being hidden away from the bustle. That is a nice place worth visiting. I would say, to me it looks a little similar with The Forks market in Winnipeg, but I’m going to speak about Winnipeg in the following “chapters of the journey”.
One of the places where I’ve been and I would like to recommend is Dr. Sun Yat Sen Park in Chinatown. It is 5-10-minute walk away from the Main Street-Science World Skytrain station or Stadium-Chinatown station. Basically, both stations are located nearby. The park amazes with its calmness among the noisy streets. The park is just in the real proximity to Pacific Central railroad station, which might be also a place of interest. This is the link to the website.
And here is something special I would like to point out. When the world-famous Cirque du Soleil comes to town, it has its location exactly between those above mentioned Skytrain stations, i.e. Main Street-Science World and Stadium-Chinatown station but the opposite to that park direction. Cirque du Soleil is a very bright, fantastic and interesting show of a high level. I would say and it is truly so, Cirque du Soleil is a part of Canadian culture, it is a part of the Canadian identity. The prices might seem high but it is definitely worth visiting. Price range may vary from 50 CAD up to I suppose 300 CAD or even more (as per January 2013).
I guess most of those who think about a journey to Vancouver would love to have a trip to Vancouver Island, i.e. to Victoria, as it is the major city on the island and the capital of the province of British Columbia. You can easily get there and it won’t cost you much, just 14 CAD per passenger (one-way ticket) as per January 2013. For this journey you need to get to Canada Line and go all the way to Bridgeport Station. There you will need to get off and take a bus 620 (you can use the same ticket during a couple of hours). From that place you can get to Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, where you depart from. I will tell you more about Victoria and a trip there in the following “chapters of the journey”, but here is a link if you are interested in it.
Vancouver, basically as all of the largest cities of Canada, has lots of parks, beautiful places, different restaurants, cafes, hotels, motels, public toilets, and, of course, lots of opportunities for those who use bicycles. You will never get bored in Vancouver.
If you want to feel the spirit of North American life, you can find a good radio station, where old and modern country music is aired, this is JR FM 93.7. I was listening to this radio station every single day that I spent in Vancouver. This helps understand the true Canadians with their pride for the land and history, people and nature, their world-famous products, such as maple syrup, Canadian whiskey, Tim Hortons coffee (especially its Iced Capp with lots of flavours) and last but not least, Canadian Ice wine. It is produced locally in Canada. It has a sweet flavour and will make you love this wine from the first try. You should definitely enjoy this experience! You can find it in special Liquor Mart store (as it is a state monopoly on alcohol, the same as in Finland with its ALKO stores) or on Granville Island in specialized stores. A bottle of red or white Ice wine may cost you from 30 CAD and higher depending on the size, age and region.
Well, I believe it is logical to conclude with the national pride of Canada, i.e. hockey. Canadians love hockey, they live hockey and they adore it. It‘s their passion, their religion, if you please. And each town and city has its own team and Vancouver is one of the most famous ones and successful ones. Vancouverers love their national hockey team “Canucks”. You can feel this pride in every piece of mosaic of Vancouver, especially at the Stadium-Chinatown station, where the major stadium is located. There you can see lots of signs stating that “We’re All Canucks”. I guess no more words needed. This is truly pride and passion, love and devotion. And you have a chance to see any game. Tickets might be expensive after play-offs but regular games might cost you around 200 CAD (as per January 2013). However, you can always find some cheap offers, but be aware of scam out there online. Purchase the tickets from the official points of sale or official website.
Here I would like to say have fun, enjoy and explore Vancouver. Travel smart and experience new excitement of Canada!
So far, this is all for now about Vancouver, but it is to be continued and more info about other places coming up.
About Travel Smart series
“Travel Smart” is a section, narrating about different countries and good travel tips, advised by the author, Kirill Malyutin. The series contains recommendations, including selected places to visit, character accommodation, and reasonable shopping. Simply get inspiration!
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The company will move on from the brand “Orient-Express” and start managing travels under the brand-new name of Belmond.
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“Glorious Victoria” – here we are, this chapter is dedicated to one of the most beautiful places and cities in the province of British Columbia, to Victoria. Victoria is a capital of the province and the city is located on the island, to be more precise on Vancouver Island.