Did you know there’s a Canadian city where you can stroll through a traditional Asian night market, savor fish and chips by the water and bike to your heart’s content—all in one day?
If you’ve always wanted to travel to Asia, but the long flights are keeping your feet firmly planted in the Pacific Northwest, hit the road and head north to Richmond, British Columbia. This coastal city is the perfect blend of Pacific culture and Canadian charm, offering incredible international cuisine, breathtaking natural beauty and diverse attractions.
From monastery to market, here’s the perfect itinerary for a day in Richmond.
Morning at the Monastery
Image Credit: Tourism Richmond
Start your day with a visit to the International Buddhist Temple (9160 Steveston Hwy; 604.274.2822), also known as Guan Yin Temple, the second largest Buddhist temple in North America. Boasting beautiful gardens, ornamental fountains and golden statues, it’s a peaceful oasis hidden in a bustling city.
If you’re looking for another spiritual experience, visit the Thrangu Monastery (8140 No. 5 Rd.; 778.297.6010; closed Mondays), the first traditional Tibetan monastery in Canada, and experience peaceful meditation in a breathtaking environment. Join the monks for 9:00 a.m. prayer and marvel at the 16-foot tall gold-leafed statue of the Buddha at the center of the prayer room.
Once you’ve nourished your spirit, it’s time to do the same for your body. Drive 10 minutes to Empire Seafood Restaurant (#200 - 5951 No. 3 Rd.; 604.249.0080) for upscale traditional dim sum along Richmond’s famous Dumpling Trail. Reservations are highly recommended, as this local favorite tends to fill up fast. Be sure to try the show-stopping wu gok, a deep-fried mashed taro and duck dumpling that’s to die for.
Afternoon in Steveston Village
Photo credit: Tourism Richmond
Step into the postcard-perfect Steveston Village and spend the afternoon in a quaint fishing village filled with many modern amenities in addition to its historic sites. To satisfy your inner history buff, head to the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site (5180 Westwater Dr.; 604.238.8050) to see some of the oldest remaining buildings along the Fraser River and get a taste of how the fishermen of yore made a living.
If the weather is nice, rent a bike from Village Bike Rentals (3891 Moncton St.; 604.274.3865) and cruise along the riverfront, stopping to load up on Instagram-worthy photos on Dyke Road or for a sweet treat at London Heritage Farm (6511 Dyke Rd.; 604.271.5120).
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time for some of the best fish and chips you’ve ever had.
For the ultimate in Steveston’s golden fried fish and (bottomless!) crispy chips, there’s Pajo’s (The Wharf at Steveston; 604.272.1588). Plan to get there a bit early, as Pajo’s is incredibly popular and there tends to be a long lineup of people waiting to take a bite out of this award-winning fish dish.
Night at the Market
Image Credit: Tourism Richmond
Transport yourself to Asia once again as you wander through the Richmond Night Market (8351 River Rd; 604.244.8448; May 11-Oct. 8, weekends and holiday Mondays only; $4.25 or free for those under 10 or over 60), home to over 100 food stalls and more than 200 retail vendors for you to peruse. Come hungry and be prepared to step outside your foodie comfort zone as you sample everything from fish waffles at The Taiyaki (fish-shaped sweet treats made before your eyes, with red bean paste, custard or Oreo filling), to the famous Rotato (a spiralized, deep-fried potato on a stick with tasty toppings).
Bonus: many of the offerings are served on sticks and are easy to eat as you meander through the market shopping for unique souvenirs. There’s also nightly entertainment onsite to keep you occupied between snacks.
Easily accessible by car (or plane — Vancouver International Airport calls Richmond home, after all), this Pacific coastal city just north of the border is an ideal destination for Seattleites looking for an international adventure with an equal dose of the familiar.