Overview of US 2017 - San Francisco & Los Angeles

Saliheen & Farhana Goes To San Francisco & L.A 2017 from fazmals on Vimeo.

Our neat little travel video put together by my sister, as always! If you have any videography assignments or need editing help (she charges $100 for personal videos), you can contact her here or on her instagram (@nfzmls) ♥

Our Travel Dates

1 February 2017 to 10 February 2017

Flight Itinerary & Journey Duration

Singapore to Los Angeles via SQ12: 16 hours 45 minutes (Layover: 1 hour 45 minutes at Narita Airport)
Los Angeles to Singapore via SQ11: 19 hours 30 minutes (Layover: 1 hour 10 minutes at Narita Airport)

Time Difference

Singapore is 15 hours ahead of California (3.00pm in Singapore = 12.00am in California, same calendar day)

Weather During Our Stay

Between 10 to 18 degrees (depending on day/night, and whether there is rain)

Why We Chose to Travel to California

We went to California because................. kita nak makan Halal Guys, gaize. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. 

And yes I ain't even lyin', we booked our flight tickets to Los Angeles that very night, after this Whatsapp text conversation hahahahaha

Ok la ok la, it wasn't a super sudden decision la. The topic of heading to Los Angeles for a holiday has constantly popped into our conversations - the idea of going to the US now now now while we have no children and no other major commitments or health issues was just very attractive ok. And I guess the idea somehow blossomed in our minds and reached its climax when Halal Guys are mentioned HAHAHAHA #fat4life

Actually kan, before we decided on LA (and along with it, San Francisco), we were planning for our return trip to Tokyo tau haha! Terbabas ke Los Angeles pulak, and Tokyo became our flight layover instead hur hur (We're planning to go Tokyo at the end of this year instead insya Allah! That's if kita tak terpesong lagi ah)

Were We Detained Upon Arrival at LAX

Unfortunately, yes. You can read more here.

Where did We Stay at in California

We stayed at Hotel Stratford in San Francisco and Hollywood Celebrity Hotel in Los Angeles.

Which Attractions did We Visit in California

We went to a number of fun touristy places in San Francisco and Los Angeles, all of which you can read about by clicking the links below:

We usually make it to 75% of our planned itinerary for every trip, so there were some places that we decided to skip because we didn't want to rush / we wanted to make a repeat visit to another place that we really liked. If we ever make a return trip to LA, I'd want to watch a drag show/comedy show, go down the skyslide at Skyspace LA, drink juice shots at Verve Cafe, drop by Union Station (where several movie scenes were shot), get lost in The Last Bookstore, eat rainbow grilled cheese at Chomp Eatery and go thrift-shopping. Maybe even go for that hip hop guided tour around Compton that Saliheen was considering to go! Hehe.

We also wanted to try out theme parks in Los Angeles too but it was sooooo difficult to decide between Disneyland and Universal Studios that we decided to eff it, let's go to Six Flags instead hahahaha. But in the end we didn't go to Six Flag either, since we couldn't work their opening hours into our itinerary lolol. Still kept it open for consideration once we were there but like what my cikgu melayu used to say: Masa amat mencemburui kita. Lolol

Availability of Halal Food

There are a few places that sell halal food in San Francisco:- there's Wings Plus (chicken wings and burgers), Bang San Thai (thai cuisine), Bellissimo Pizza (didn't get the opportunity to try but apparently they have halal chicken pizza), Ziggy's Burger (burgers and sandwiches) and of course The Halal Guys.

As for Los Angeles, there are halal options as well (read here: mostly Indian or Middle Eastern, including The Halal Guys) but they're not easily accessible (like Thai restaurant Barn Rau Thai), especially if you're not driving. The nearest halal option near Hollywood is Yogi Dog but if you're irrationally allergic to the word "dog" like Malaysian's halal certification board (read here lol) then... makan rumput je ah kau. Haha. Luckily, LA is known to be a pretentious, health-conscious place so there are many good vegetarian/vegan cafes you can check out la.

Oh! I think I forgot to mention we also dropped by SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa (popular mid-range Japanese restaurant in California) for lunch on one of our shopping days. They're not halal certified so consume at your own discretion, but in any event, their food isn't worth the hype. You can get much better Japanese food in Singapore (which says something, since our local Japanese food is nothing compared to authentic Japanese food in Japan) 

Transportation Around California

Really happy we decided to drive around in Los Angeles because it made Saliheen a very, very, very happy man! Korang nampak tak muka ada senyum dia at the start of our travel video above hahaha. He enjoys driving and it helped that we had a very positive experience driving around LA.

Not sure why their locals bemoan their LA traffic, maybe they haven't experienced the horrors of traffic in Asia! Their drivers were respectful and patient and cooperative, and we couldn't get over the pleasant surprise of other drivers automatically giving way and slowing down whenever Saliheen signal nak tukar/masuk lanes. NOTHING like Singapore's rude, selfish and inconsiderate drivers lor. And Angelenos' complains about "bad" traffic jams??? Pfffffttttt. They ain't got anythin' on Jakarta's infamous 3-to-5-hours-long traffic jams! Seriously, they have no idea how good they have it. We'd take LA traffic over Singapore traffic any day! In less than a heartbeat!

All that aside, I personally do think that it would've worked out just as fine if we chose to Uber around in LA instead of driving - a lot of Angelenos move around in that way too and it was easy to get an Uber (from our experience booking Uber to and fro airport). We mostly travelled by Uber in San Francisco too, otherwise we walked.

Where to Buy Souveniers

Everywhere! Hahahaha. I'm not kidding you gaize, there were sooooo many souvenier shops near our accommodation so memang takde hal untuk dapatkan ole ole. Bought cute Hollywood movie clipboard acrylic key-chains for colleagues whereas we got t-shirts and cosmetics for our family and friends.

Availability of Wifi

As always, we relied heavily on our wifi router from Changi Recommends. If you're not willing to pay for that, Wifi is generally available in accommodation and some cafes.

Research Resources

It was very easy to research for California because all of the resources available online are in English and are very comprehensive. Some of the resources I relied on were San Francisco Travel, Nomadic MattDiscover Los Angeles and Lonely Planet. Additionally, there are sooooo many vlogs on Youtube about travelling to and around California! I also sought advice from friends who have been to California before and stalked hashtags and location tags on Instagram.

Would We Return to California for Vacation

Sure! It has everything that makes up a happy and memorable holiday: Great shopping, lovely sights, excellent service staff, laid-back vibes. Food is A-OK, not the best if you compare against places like Japan and Thailand but ok la, we enjoyed ourselves at good makan spots like The Codmother Fish & Chips, Pokinometry and SQIRL.

That said, if you asked me to choose between Los Angeles/San Francisco or New York City, I'd pick NYC any time any day in any way possible. There is just something very charming and very exciting about NYC, and I am hopelessly in love! Till today I wonder if we made the right decision in not packing up and leaving for that job position in NYC that Saliheen was offered 2 years ago.........

Oh! We also struggled to get decent food at late hours (11pm, midnight ish) in LA - we eventually ordered food in via an app called LA Bite and paid a bomb, whereas in NYC we could pop into a 24 hour deli near our accommodation or easily pick up a $1 slice of pizza. Tapi at the end of the day Singapore tetap the best la got 24-hour hawker centres and coffees shops cheap cheap good good hahahaha

And there we have it! The last of the last of the last blog entry for our holiday in California!

Catch up with you guys when I'm back from Bangkok next week ok! Please excuse me while I stuff myself with tomyam soups and thai milk teas and pamper myself with massages and cheap shopping heh heh heh BAIIIIIIIIIIII

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