Flying from SEA

Flight

Date: before 10th May 2019
If you want the flight to be comfortable and cheap, book in advance. The best flights are booked well in advance and later the prices are sky high. Try to book a flight where you will have the minimum jet lag and the flight is comfortable as well, that’s a win-win situation.



Just keep a note on the following points:
- Keep the stop over to a minimum, 2-3 hours is ideal, giving you enough time to do the formalities and stretch a little in the airport.
- Fly west, if you are flying to east coast it will save time, for west coast its somehow more comfortable.
- Take a flight with stop over in midway (like somewhere in Europe)
- Go for Premium Economy, if you are not going for Business or First class, its worth the money.
- Keep the travel time to the shortest possible

We had booked our flight with Cathay Pacific. Doing booking less than 20 days in advance is a night mare. Either the good flights are booked or the prices have rocketed sky high and not viable. The flight took off from Mumbai at 11:50 PM and reached Hong Kong at 7:00AM. We had a loooong 12 hours lay over. So I did what any one would do. I had taken PAR (no Visa required for Indian Passport holders in HK). We did the immigration and took a train from the Airport to the city. That was the best way to spend the long lay over. At evening the flight took off at 7:00PM on 11th May and we reached SF at 4:30 PM on 11th May. (We gain time when travelling west). Two dinners in one night at 15 time zones apart.



The Immigration

Visa

Date: 11th May 2019

Be prepared.
Getting visa might sound tough. Immigration is just bad.

Be ready for
- A long queue, where you may need to stand for 2 hours or more
- Some ridiculous questions
- Do not carry any raw food into US, that’s a crime



My Experience:
We landed at 4:30 PM.
A long queue of around 200 people, 4 immigration officers, 120 minutes of wait. There were kids and toddlers, old people in the queue, and the snobbish security officers who wanted everyone to be in a perfect queue as if we were prisoners.
After traveling to 3 continents and more that 7 countries, I have seen this for the first time. Often, families with small kids and old people are given special treatment and a separate queue.
Hey USA, we are tourists and humans and we are not at War.
First impression: Absence of Humanity
I really felt humiliated.

Second phase of the worst part:
Declaration of raw food.
My daughter sometimes get sick in long flights. So we carried lemon and raw ginger with us from India as it really helps you get over any nausea feeling. We honestly declared what we were bringing (they specifically asked if we were bringing any raw food items with us). And then, they eyed me and my family, as if we were bringing in the most dangerous virus to destroy American farms and veggies. Our luggage was searched thoroughly adding 30 more minutes to the immigration process.
Later we discovered that American veggies are not that great after all. A French or Swiss Zucchini tastes far better than an American Zucchini and that goes with almost all veggies.

By the time we reached it was 7 PM.
Ordered food, ate and slept.


Where to Stay?

Stay


Staying is something where you can go for varied prices, experience.
From a geek hostel to a royal suite, the choice is yours.
If you are travelling alone, the best place to stay is a hostel.
You can get variety of choices at

https://www.hostelworld.com
http://www.hostels.com



You can also find a place to crash at Couch Surfing.
https://www.couchsurfing.com/about/safety/
If you want a bigger place to stay, you cn go for hotels or studio apartments.

I find AirBnb the most cost effective and comfortable option.
https://www.airbnb.com
You Can get a shared room, private room, or an entire house for yourself.

Choosing an area to stay can be tricky.
There are many deciding factors:

1. Transport
BART or Bay Area Rapid Transport is the mass rapid transport (MRT) in San Francisco. It runs through the heart of the city starting from Airport in the south to Oakland across the bay. If you are using public transport, then it would be better to stay near BART. Unlike other cities, the MRT in San Francisco runs a single line with no branches. So the option of exploring the city using MRT will be very limited. Even along the BART, the accommodation will be expensive at and near downtown. The epicenter will be stationed like Embarcadero and Montgomery which will be expensive for accommodation and cost will decline as you move either south or north. For a cost-effective accommodation would suggest searching for something between Daly City and Mission street.

2. Food
San Francisco is heaven for connoisseur of good food. The best restaurants are located in down town. To stay in down town you need to steel a lot. I would prefer to live in suburbs and dine in downtown. If you are a vegan pr vegetarian, options will be limited.

3. Locality
Again the best locality to stay is in the down town close to the piers. Fancy restaurants, shopping centres, evening walks at the piers will make your stay memorable. Next best area is around the Golden gate park. Bit far away from city centre, the area is awesome for stay. If you want a cheaper are, you can opt for Oakland or Berkley. Even if far, those areas are well connected with BART.

You want to know more about Airbnb, please check out this blog:
https://trueperception.in/how-to-book-the-perfect-AirBnb/



What to Eat?

Food

TThere is plenty to eat with lots of option at San Francisco. Be it Mexican, Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, you name and they got it. The restaurants can be bit expensive with each meal costing $30 to $40 per person. If you are vegan or vegetarian, options are very limited. Almost all returns have some vegetarian options, however most of the dishes will contain meat or egg.



Some of the must try restaurants are

Z&Y Restaurant - Chinese - Budget $$$
https://www.zandyrestaurant.com
Address: Z&Y Restaurant, 655 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

The Slanted Door - Vietnamese - Budget $$$$
https://slanteddoor.com
Address: The Slanted Door, One Ferry Building #3, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen - Traditional American restaurant - Budget $$
https://tagck.com/
Address: 799 Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

Blue Line Pizza - Budget $$
https://bluelinepizza.com
Address: 511 Westlake Center, Daly City, CA 94015, USA

For vegans and Vegetarians, other option is to cook. Trust me, you won’t regret it. If you stay in Airbnb, you will get a fully equipped kitchen. All you need to do is buy some veggies, rice and prepare something to eat. Its very cost effective. For $100 you can either eat for a day in a restaurant, or purchase grocery and enjoy your meal for 3-4 day.


What to do?

What


San Francisco is a business centre and tourist attractions are very limited.

Golden Gate bridge
A symbolic bridge which is a structure that links the American city of San Francisco, California – the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula – to Marin County.
This a must see.
Time: 2 hours


Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. The small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a federal prison from 1934 until 21 March 1963.
It was also showcased in the famous Hollywood movie “The Rock”.
Time: 4 hours

Golden Gate Park / Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California, is a popular feature of Golden Gate Park. The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States, this complex of many paths, ponds and a teahouse features plants and trees pruned and arranged in a Japanese style. Its beauty makes this attraction something you don’t want to miss.
Time: 3 hours

California Academy of Science
The California Academy of Sciences is a research institute and natural history museum in San Francisco, California, that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 46 million specimens.
Time: 8 hours

Pier39
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39's marina.
Time: 2 hours

Visit San Jose
San Jase is a major technology hub in California's Bay Area. It houses worlds biggest tech companies like Facebook, Google and Apple.
Time: 1-2 days

Drive through Pacific Coastal Highway 1 (PCH1)
The Pacific Coast Highway is well known as one of the most scenic drives in the world. Starting from California’s northern border with Oregon and stretching all the way down to San Diego the route takes round ten hours to complete at a leisurely pace with no stops. Over 1000km you’ll see stunning coastal views, seaside villages, untouched forest and make your way through some sunny wine making districts too.
Time: 1 day






Visit San Jose
San Jase is a major technology hub in California's Bay Area. It houses worlds biggest tech companies like Facebook, Google and Apple.
Time: 1-2 days





Drive through Pacific Coastal Highway 1 (PCH1)
The Pacific Coast Highway is well known as one of the most scenic drives in the world. Starting from California’s northern border with Oregon and stretching all the way down to San Diego the route takes round ten hours to complete at a leisurely pace with no stops. Over 1000km you’ll see stunning coastal views, seaside villages, untouched forest and make your way through some sunny wine making districts too.
Time: 1 day




About the Author

Warren Prasad

Warren is an Engineer and Program Manager by profession. Have worked closely with some of the biggest names on this planet. He is a thinker, traveller and consultant.

Know more about me!

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