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Please Review Vancouver Trip Itin. May 2009

Please Review Vancouver Trip Itin. May 2009

Old Jan 4th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Please Review Vancouver Trip Itin. May 2009

Hello! Wanting to see if we can get some help on our itin. for a trip to Vancouver & Whistler this May. Flying from Kansas City:

Thursday May 21st- Fly to Seattle in the evening. Spend the night in Seattle.

Friday May 22th Rent car in Seattle and drive to Whistler. Approx. 4 hr. drive. Try to leave by 9am and this would put us in Whistler in the early afternoon. Explore Whistler Village that day. (Stay the night in Whistler)

Saturday May 23rd- Wedge Rafting LTD 2 hr. rafting tour ($150 CAD approx.) or some other excursion. Explore Lost Lake either in the morning or the afternoon depending on the times of the raft trip. (Stay the night in Whistler)

Sunday May 24th Hike some of the trails around Whistler. The high note trail is strongly recommended (Stay the night in Whistler)

Monday May 25th Leave Whistler for Vancouver. Stop at Cheakamus Lake on the way back in Garibaldi Park. Try to be out of the Cheakamus Lake area by 12pm-1pm. Approx. a 2 hr. drive to Vancouver. Check in to hotel and walk around an area of Vancouver.

Tuesday May 26th Explore Vancouver. Granville Island in the morning (2-3 hrs.).

Wed. May 27th Explore Vancouver.

Thursday May 28th- Explore Vancouver or day trip to Victoria.

Friday May 29th Explore Vancouver. Chinatown night market.

Saturday May 30th Leave Vancouver for Seattle.

How is this looking? We're flying into SEA because this saves us about $500 in air. The drive to whistler might be long for the 1st day but I drive a lot for work so 4-5 hrs. isn't too bad.

We could really use some help structuring our days in Vancouver. Things we would like to do include: Stanley Park/ Aquarium, Grouse Mtn. Granville Island, Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge & the Van Dusen Botanical Garden, shopping & Chinatown. If time permits, we might try to get over to Victoria for a day trip only.

Any other thoughts on hikes in the Whistler area or restaurant recommendations are appreciated. We are going to try to eat at Vij's or Rangoli. We've been talking about Tojo's also but have heard mixed reviews. Tojos would probably be our splurge meal for the trip if we decide to eat there. We generally try to eat dinner at places with tip etc. that we can get out of for around $60. Oh, a good recommendation on a noodle house would be great. We've heard that Hon's doesn't live up to the hype.

Thanks everyone! Looking forward to your thoughts.

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Old Jan 4th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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Sorry! Forgot to ask an important question above:

How much time should we allow for coming back thru customs into the U.S? I understand this is all relative to the day, time of day etc. We have friends who just made this trip in October and they said it took them over 3 hrs. to get back into the U.S. We would be coming back Sat. the 30th.

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Old Jan 4th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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Lots of questions there, hawk, I'll try a few.

Your dates and the border: Mon May 25/09 is the US Memorial Day. The state of the US/CAD exchange rate and the economy may have opposing effects on border traffic but I'd try to be at the border the earlier the better. That will put you in Seattle commuter gridlock but at least the traffic will move. Sat May 30 means Canadians heading south for the weekend - again, I'd be in line early (but I haaaate waiting in line with all the engines running - that's why I have Nexus now!).

No matter what the weather, start your Stanley Park walk from the Pan Pacific Hotel/Cruise Ship Terminal, heading west along the seawall to S Park. Make sure you stop at the Totem Pole Park. Deke into the Park to see the Aquarium but afterwards head back to the seawall and do the entire walk. It is a gorgeous walk.

Grouse Mtn would be done on the same day as Lynn Canyon as both are in North Vancouver. G Mtn is expensive but the view on a clear day is spectacular. If you want to skip the cost, a short drive west on Highway 1 takes you to Cypress Mtn where there are great viewing points.

I don't think $60 for two incl tip is doable at Vij's but you definitely could next door at Rangoli's. That is a tough budget (for me, anyway). I'd search the forum and repost with something like "Great Inexpensive Restaurants in Vancouver".

Vancouver, to me, is mainly about the outdoors and you sound like an active couple so I'd definitely include kayaking (weather dependent of course):
www.deepcovekayak.com/ - North Vancouver
www.bowenislandkayaking.com/ - take a ferry "cruise" to my home islandwww.ecomarine.com/ - Granville Island

Have a great trip.


PS Bring clothes that layer well!

PPS If I were you, coming all the way from Kansas City, I would rework my itinerary: I'd nix Cheakamus Lake, get back in Vancouver and stay three nights, forget aobut Victoria, and hightail it over to Vancouver Island (via ferry, with reservations) for a couple of nights (3 would be better) in Tofino/Ucluelet or go to Quadra Island via Campbell River or go to Sointula/Alert Bay out of Port MacNeil, or ... for something different than resort-town Whister (which I love) or biggish city Vancouver (ditto)... a thought.
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Old Jan 4th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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Thanks for the response. Some good info. there & a good idea about a rest. topic. I was using $60 as an example of a normal night out for us. It's easy for us here in KC to grab a meal for under $20 per person. We enjoy many ethnic foods so I think that makes it easier to find "cheap" eats i.e. a good bowl of PHO and spring rolls etc. vs. a swanky steak house. For us, these little gems are way better & often more fun than a $40 per person + steak. Still, we would be ok with a couple of "nice" dinners on the trip and would probably balance them out with a lighter breakfast or lunch. This is why we were thinking of Tojos & having him prepare a meal based on our budget per person. Having him prepare a meal would probably be a once in a lifetime experience for us so it might be fun.

It's funny you mention kayaking as we have been several times and really love it. Last summer we visited the San Juan Islands & stayed at a B&B where we could kayak every morning with a guide. I think we went out 3 times. Anyway, that trip plus a couple of others has us thinking we might (emphasis on might) be able to rent some kayaks and tool around some mild waters on our own. Def. something to check into.

Thanks again. We really appreciate the help! Looking forward to more thoughts.

P.S. We'll look in the Vancouver Island suggestion.
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Old Jan 4th, 2009, 03:42 PM
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Hi jbjayhawk,

I can't comment on the Whistler part of the trip never having been before... for Vancouver, I think it worked well for me planning things in general geographic bites: one day centrally for downtown/West End/Stanley Park exploration, one day south over in Kitsilano/UBC/Wreck Beach/Museum of Anthro, one day North Van: Grouse Mountain, Lynn Valley perhaps and another day choose an island (I picked Bowen).

My only other thought is that I personally find a day trip to Victoria (ca. 3 hours each way) is too whirlwind for my taste. I really enjoyed my 3 nights there and know that having only a part of a day, much of the pleasure of leisurely exploring that overnighting allowed would be lost (Victoria Harbour strolls, Royal BC museum, Butchart's Gardens, Beacon Hill Park, biking along the Juan de Fuca Strait... too much is sacrificed with a day trip only). Although the ride out to Van. Island is lovely which perhaps makes a quick impression of Victoria worthwhile enough for some, I'm of the opinion it would be more enjoyable to do a boat ride closer-in to Vancouver (Bowen Island for example) than to do a rushed in-and-out trip to Victoria on a day-trip. Now if you're willing to split up your trip and overnight on Van. Island, then I'm 100% in favour!

Best wishes,

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Old Jan 4th, 2009, 11:01 PM
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Firstly, if I were you, I'd stay laaaaaaaaate into the evening in Vancouver on that Saturday... and then set sail for Seattle maybe leaving midtown Vancouver @ 8pm or after.

That lets you spend your time on YOU, and not in whatever border line there would be earlier.

You might be at the border 20 minutes or so if you left midtown Vancouver at 8:00pm sharp... vs. what could be an hour or more a couple of hours earlier.

Otherwise, I give you high marks for spending plenty of TIME in Vancouver proper. And the idea of high-tailing it for Whistler immediately isn't bad, because it does maximize your time.

I'd make the minor adjustment of leaving Seattle in the 10:00am to noon range... 9:00 could get you a tiny bit of what remains of morning rush hour, and with being so far north near the end of may, DAYLIGHT lasts until 9:30 or so once you get up to Whistler, so you have scores of time.

Of course the border, going UP to Canada could be a little stuffy based on the holiday weekend in the U.S.... but it is never too bad going north.

Keep yourself moving so as to reach Vancouver before the thick of their Friday afternoon rush hour.

A more direct path than the main Interstate 5/Hwy 99 route into Canada is as follows:

Exit #275 to "Truck Customs" from northbound I-5 (which is about a mile from the Cdn border).

Then just stay on the main road once you clear customs. The road curves a bit from 6 to 8 miles into Canada, but you STAY on it.

At the top of the 2nd GIANT HILL (now roughly 10-12 miles into Canada) look for the exit to Hwy #1 toward Vancouver.

(Warning: that exit, a clover leaf off to the right after you cross over the freeway you'll enter... comes up very suddenly to those who have never been there)

Once you're on that freeway, it is a straight shot to Whistler, minus all of the dumb surface streets and city traffic that the main route drags you through.

Don't forget that, again, because you'll be so far north, the daylight sticks around pleasantly late.

Have to admit that in some years the weather can be somewhat wintery in the mountains toward late May, but most years it presents no restrictions to mobility.

You'll find that Vancouver is quite compact given its size, and that you'll find loads of entertainment and eateries just about anywhere.

Enjoy your trip!

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