México through the eyes of a Southeast Asian

Christmas 2015 to New Year’s 2016.

JFK ✈ ️Mexico City ✈ Cancun 🚕 Playa del Carmen 🚕 Cancun ✈ Mexico City ✈ JFK

A long and much needed break after a busy 2015 capped my year. I’ll leave my 2015 reflections to another post and focus on the trip to Mexico this time.

My travel companion, Michelle, actually started her holiday a few days prior to Christmas as she flew to New York City to be a tourist for a few days. She planned most of the itinerary for Mexico as I was simply too busy in the weeks leading up to the trip.

Plane tickets were kind of expensive, hotel rates shot up and vacancies were scarce as we looked for something within our budget.

24th December — Mexico City

We arrived in Mexico City, got an Uber and arrived at our hotel. My friend who is Mexican gave me a tip early on. Use an Uber if you can in Mexico, it’s super cheap and you’ll be safer. The trip from the airport to the hotel was like $7.

I wish someone told me that everything is closed on holidays in Mexico City though. We arrived on Christmas Eve and planned to leave on the 26th morning. A lot of places we wanted to go were closed and it was a huge bummer!

25th December — Teotihuacan

One of the highlights of my trip.

Teotihuacan is an hour away from Mexico City and cost us around $70 (I think)to get there and back with a hotel arranged driver.

It’s my first ‘pyramid’ and it was amazing. The little dots you see above the pyramid are people.

This is me on top of one of the smaller ones that was in between the Sun and Moon pyramid.

Along the way we stopped by one of those ‘tourist souvenir’ shop traps and saw how they used the Agave plant to make paper, shampoo, alcohol and just about anything.

26th — 28th December — Cancun

Another thing about not researching before a trip. You lose the best experience. Cancun is a beach resort area where there’s this part called the ‘Hotel Zone’.

When in Cancun, don’t Airbnb, stay at a hotel.

I wish someone told me that.

We stayed about 10 mins away by bus from the Hotel Zone, and while that’s not so far away, it was also a 10 minute walk to the bus stop. The thought of the journey back after you hang out at some of the hidden public beaches just wasn’t that enticing.

We ended up watching Star Wars in a pretty big and good cineplex in Cancun, which wasn’t too bad since I might have never caught it in NYC as I hate the idea of unreserved seating.

27th December — Chichen Itza

One of the new 7 wonders of the world.

This one was obviously more majestic and more touristy. However, you can’t climb this one.

Chichen Itza

On our way to Chichen Itza, we stopped by a ‘cenote’. A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. People swim in it and it looks really nice.

Tourists swimming with lifevests on.

But, we only had 50 minutes at the cenote, so I figured I don’t want the trouble of changing in and out of our bathing suits for a 10 minute dipping session. I had a beer instead.

On our way back to Cancun…


28th December — Playa del Carmen!

My favourite place of the trip because this was where I finally got to ‘chill’. Again, maybe a bad idea to stay away from the beach and in a Airbnb. Did I mention the Airbnbs have mosquitoes? A lot of them!

I could finally kick back on a beach and read a book.

We also decided to splash some cash and book a hotel last minute on the final day of our trip so that we will go back refreshed instead of tired and filled with mozzie bites.

Did I mention we drank everyday there?

And that the food was amazing and cheap?

Cancun/Playa = Bali

Mexico City = Bangkok

The above 2 feelings were what I thought when I visited the various cities. Cancun and Playa are the Bali for this side of the world. Mexico City (when open) is probably just like Bangkok for its cheap and awesome eats.

It was a really great trip in the end. I got to see some pyramids, a cenote, and got to relax and chill by the beach. Ate some good food, some good drinks and had a good travel companion who was flexible and wasn’t fussy.

By the time it was time to go home though, I was looking forward to it. To the comforts of my room, heater and strong shower. As I age, I realised that I’ve changed as a traveller. I used to be a backpacker who had a tiny budget and didn’t mind a lot of things.

I’m now looking for more comforts and also want to make sure I return to work refreshed and raring to go. I had a good balance of both in this trip. But the way I plan my next trip will be very different.

I wish I can travel more in 2016.

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