Li Chi Pan has an eye for design. The blogger, photographer and trained architect was born in South Africa and spent much of her youth in Australia, where she's now based. With over 550,000 followers on Instagram and a vision all her own, she's worked with brands including Dior, Tiffany & Co. and Audi. Now she's sharing her travel picks, go-to packing tips, and must-see spots in Sydney, exclusively with DFS.
What does travel mean to you?
Travel allows me to broaden my mind and influences the way I think. It enriches me and teaches me about different cultures and the way in which local people live in various cities. Seeing so many different landscapes and interacting with the most vibrant people inspires my work in many ways. I try to incorporate new ideas from travel into my lifestyle shoots.
Describe your travel wardrobe. What do you like to pack?
I like to pack 8-9 pieces of clothing when I travel — a mixture of shorts, pants and tops. I always mix and match and pre-plan outfits before I travel. You’d be surprised at how many looks you can create from 9 different items. I also love bringing a statement bag and use it to carry my camera gear and essential items. A good pair of sneakers, heels, and flats are also a must!
What is one destination you enjoy returning to again and again? Why?
Sydney is my home away from home. Despite having grown up in South Africa I spent the majority of my time during the year here. I could never get sick of the turquoise beaches and architecture of Opera House.
What makes Sydney special?
Sydney is the perfect blend of cosmopolitan and urban life. It has beautiful beaches, unique architecture, bespoke coffee and boutique fashion stores. Sydney is also a great spot for road trips too. I love spending time at the Blue Mountains or Port Stephens on the weekend!
What are some of your favorite places to recommend to someone who is visiting Sydney for the first time?
If you’re visiting for the first time, you can’t miss the Bondi Icebergs, the Grounds of Alexandria, Three Williams, Paddington for shopping, Opera Bar for drinks, a cruise to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and High Tea at Park Hyatt Sydney. They’re all must-sees!
What are your favorite bars and restaurants in Sydney, and what do you like to order?
I love Automata, they change the menu based on season ingredients and the ambience and cocktails are so detailed. Bennelong is a lot of fun. The lamination dessert on dry ice is spectacular. And Gogyo does amazing ramen and wagyu spring rolls.
For cocktails, if you love coffee, go to Hacienda for their Espresso Martini. If you’re more into classic cocktails, you must try the Old Fashioned from Baxter’s Inn. Finally, Gin Lane for a classic Gin and Tonic.
Describe the perfect day in Sydney.
A quick breakfast at Bills. They make the fluffiest ricotta hotcakes and coffee! Then head to Bondi Beach for a run along the coast, followed by a smoothie run at Speedo’s Cafe and ending off the evening with some shopping at Paddington.
What are some of your favorite cultural sites?
I love the Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art. You’ll also find the best views of Sydney at the Opera House as well as Harbour Bridge.
What are some of the spots in the city that not many people know about?
There are plenty of treasures to find throughout the city like Paddington Reservoir Gardens, and Sydney’s most hidden gem has got to be Milk Beach in Vaucluse. Not many people know about this beautiful hidden spot.