Experience the Wildest Holidays of Your Life in Southern California

California is a big state that is split into Southern California (SoCal) and Northern California (NorCal). There are many cultural differences between the two thanks to the large, unique state that they both reside in. There are diverse groups of residents, plenty of tourists and outsiders and unique food cultures that separate the two. NorCal is known to some as foodie heaven with its Michelin-star restaurants, while SoCal is known for its authentic Mexican food and popular chain restaurants. With so many differences, visiting “just California” won’t do the state justice, which is why we’ve decided to write solely about the experiences you’ll have in SoCal alone.

pexels-photo-462331Source

Disneyland Park

Of all the theme parks in the United States, Disneyland Resort is probably one of the most popular and well-known destinations that all children want to visit at some point during their adolescence. There’s plenty of fun to be had in this iconic location that is absolutely filled to the brim with your favourite Disney references and characters. Even adults can have a lot of fun here reliving their childhood memories—there’s always something magical here.

Universal Studios

If you’ve ever wanted to see your favourite movies come to life, then look no further than a trip to Universal Studios. With exciting attractions, plenty of rides and non-stop thrills to indulge in, it warrants more than just a day of your attention. Get a room at a nearby hotel such as Best Western PLUS Executive Inn and it’ll make it far easier to travel to and from this wonderful destination. There’s fun for the whole family here so no matter who you bring, you’re going to have a blast.

Hearst Castle

IF you love historic landmarks, then you’ll want to give Hearst Castle a visit. In 1954, the castle became a state park and is one of the most beautiful locations to visit in the whole of California, not just the south! There are tours you can take inside of the castle, and you’ll get to travel back in time to experience what it was like to be a privileged guest in this luxurious castle. There are also evening tours to let you sample what life would’ve been like inside the castle when the lights were out.This is truly a museum like no other and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t stop by at least once.

Getty Center

If fine art, architecture and gardens are more your style then don’t miss out on a visit to the Getty Center. Here you’ll find beautiful art on display such as manuscripts, drawings, sculptures and European paintings that range from the 19th to 20th century. There’s also a wide array of food on offer that is made entirely with local ingredients. With so much to see here, you’ll definitely want to come back in the future to see newer exhibitions on offer.

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USA Theme Parks For All Ages

Theme parks are quite literally fun for all the family – they’re the very definition of it, in fact. No matter what the age of your kids, there’s something for everyone to enjoy – be it white-knuckle rides or a more sedate, quaint experience.

There’s literally hundreds of theme parks in North America, and particularly in the USA; the land of freedom and fun. If you’re a fan of a holiday that involves taking in a theme park, the biggest hurdle you’ll have to overcome is deciding where you should actually go.

So let’s break it down. Rather than comparing rides, amenities, what the shows are like – let’s focus on the overall vibe. While each theme park undoubtedly has something to offer the whole family ensemble, there are some that are best suited to particular ages.

Young Children (Ages 0 – 4): Dutch Wonderland, PA

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Flickr

You might not have heard of Dutch Wonderland before, but if you’re a parent with very young children, then it’s the dream destination you have been waiting for. Located in Pennsylvania – the Dutch is as in Amish, not Holland –  the park is a cornucopia of delights with a good old-fashioned sense of family fun. It’s simple enough to find good family-friendly hotels near Dutch Wonderland too, meaning you can explore the local area and spend as long as you want at the park itself.

Must Do: The show ‘A Royal Fiasco’ is a romp of humor that kids will love, as a Princess tries to plan a Royal Ball with the help – and hindrance – of inexperienced aides.

Older Children (Ages 4 – Tween): Water Country, VI

As the name might suggest, Water Country in Virginia is a water park. It’s a perfect summer holiday trip, when the sun is high in the sky and there’s plenty of fun to be had on the rides. It’s best to save this trip for when your children are older; they’ll want to be able to swim confidently to take advantage of the rides and attractions inside the sprawling park. You can stay on-site in the private cabanas, or in nearby history-rich Williamsburg if you prefer.

Must Do: ‘Rock And Roll Island’ has a multitude of different experiences in one area, from huge slides to a pool to paddle in while you watch the kids have fun.

Tweens & Up: Cedar Point, OH

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Wikimedia

As the above image shows, when it comes to white knuckle rides, you can’t go far wrong with Cedar Point in Ohio. Once again, you can stay on-site if you prefer, though there’s plenty of surrounding accommodation if you’d rather stay for a single day. With that said, there’s so many exciting thrill rides here that you might be tempted to linger a little longer!

Must Do: Corkscrew – in the image – was the first ever rollercoaster in the world to feature three inversions. It’s still a thrill today, and is a nice piece of theme park history to enjoy.

So whatever the age of your group, there is a theme park out there in the USA that is ready and willing to welcome you.

 

Advice For A First Time Tourist of Japan

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Image By Jason Goh

If you’re planning on visiting Japan, it’s likely that you already know that it’s one of the best parts of Asia, with its elegant architecture and amazing technological feats. However, without proper knowledge of the country, you are at risk of getting stuck in a situation you don’t know how to get out of, or completely over spending when it’s simply not necessary. To avoid this, here’s some of the best advice I can give for traveling to Japan for the first time.

  1. Eat At Fast Food Restaurants

Most people associate the phrase “fast food” with a grease filled burger or some variation of fried chicken, but in Japanese fast food restaurants that simply isn’t the case. Here you can order miso soup, dumplings, bowls of rice, and many other typical Japanese foods, often at a price cheaper than the processed junk from back home.

  1. Bring Cash

A lot of places in Japan don’t accept bank cards, and many ATMs don’t accept foreign cards even in Tokyo, so money really will be your friend on your trip. Because of this, you will have to make sure you either have enough cash or know of an ATM that will accept your card.

  1. Carry Hand Sanitizer

Strangely, most public bathrooms in Japan don’t have any dispensable hand soap, so if you want more than a simple rinse of warm water, you should probably carry sanitizing hand gel.

  1. Learn Japanese

You don’t necessarily need to learn Japanese fluently, as many people in Japan do speak English quite well. However, it’s always best to have a few key Japanese phrases memorized, in case you get stuck in a situation where there isn’t anyone that can speak English. It’s also polite, and many Japanese people would probably appreciate being asked if they can speak English in their language.

  1. Print Out Hotel Address In Japanese

Much like above, if you get stuck in a situation where you can’t find anyone that speaks English, it’s always best to have your hotel address written down in Japanese, to give to a cab driver to help you get back. This tip is useful in any foreign country you visit.

  1. Rent A “Pocket Wi-Fi”

A “Pocket Wi-Fi” is a wireless internet router that allows several different gadgets to connect to it and use its unlimited internet. They are available to rent at most airports in Japan, at a fraction of the cost of data roaming charges.

  1. Find Your Nearest Konbini

A Konbini is a Japanese convenience store that often sells anything you could possibly require, from hot meals, to gadget chargers, to socks. They also often have ATMs that do accept foreign bank cards, so it really is a refuge, if you get into a pickle.

  1. Get A Japanese Rail Pass

If you plan on visiting several different cities during your trip, a JR Pass could save you a lot of money, especially if you plan on going to another one of the four main islands.

Japan is a beautiful and elegant country, but it can get confusing if you don’t know the language and customs. Hopefully, this advice will help you navigate the country with a bit more ease, and allow you to have a completely stress free, and memorable getaway.

5 Fun Things to Do in Koh Samui Thailand on the Weekend

The second largest island in Thailand, Koh Samui, is filled with tropical fun, great food and fantastic ways to relax on the weekends. Surrounded by forested mountains and stunning beaches, you can do as much or as little as you like. Take in the picturesque scenery and scents of exotic flowers, coconut groves and salty air while you decide what you want to do this weekend. Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:

1) Staying in

Stay in and submerge yourself in opulence with your own villa complete with a private pool. You can enjoy a dip in the refreshing waters before dinner, at midnight under the stars, or anytime you want too. Walls enclosing the area allow for optimal privacy, you know – just in case you and your love want some ‘alone time’ in the pool. Afterwards, you can lounge around on the plush bedding or relax in living room area. Two satellite TV’s, an ipod docking station and wireless internet will keep you in touch while still allowing you to be away from it all.

2) Soak up salty air

Soak up salty air, balmy breezes and fruity drinks from your oceanfront cabana at the beach club. Or, choose to lounge beside the pools, under the umbrellas or even in the water. There are plenty of cushioned loungers, sofas and beds for you and your friends to gather. Lather up with the suntan lotion, grab your glasses and stretch out to work on that tan. When you get too hot, just dip into the pristine pools (or the ocean) and repeat.

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3) Eat!

With so many great restaurants, especially fresh seafood, you should never go hungry. Do not miss the best Thailand has to offer- the Sunday brunch in Koh Samui. The Ultimate Sunday Brunch Club runs from 11:30 until 3:30. Enjoy the DJ and some great music while you dine on the finest oysters, Iberico ham, prime roast beef, sea bass, lobster and so much more. Local fresh fruits and vegetables, canapes, and luscious creme brulee will round off your meal. Take this opportunity to enjoy old favorites or to venture out and try everything new and flavorful. This is truly the best brunch on the island.

4) Spa and massage

Allow your chi to flow freely again in the spa. Here, masterful hands employ Chinese reflexology, traditional Thai massage, Japanese Reiki and Indian Ayuravedi to bring you back into balance. Enjoy being pampered alone or with your significant other during a couples massage. Flower petal-filled water, warm herb compresses, and strong hands will ease away your stress and restore your sense of well-being.

5) Adventure and scenery

2 days in Koh Samui will only wet your appetite for the things of this island. When this island is full of adventure and scenery. Get out of your resort and see the 12m- tall Golden Buddha at Wat Phra Yai Temple. Do some sea kayaking or snorkeling. Explore the night markets of Fisherman’s Village in Bophut. Here, the streets are blocked off and vendors sell everything from chicken satay and grilled meats to colorful elephants and silky wraps. Soak your feet in an aquarium filled with tiny fish waiting to exfoliate your feet by eating away the dead skin.

Thailand awaits with so many fun things to do in Koh Samui. Partake in the cultural delights, gorgeous mountain forests trails, warm sandy beaches, and culinary treats. You will never be bored. Come and explore Koh Samui soon.

 

Koh Yao Noi, Phang Nga : Your Perfect Honeymoon Island Paradise in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most romantic countries in the world. The nation’s shimmering beaches, luscious jungle landscape, eclectic culture, and delicious cuisine make it a hotspot for vacationers around the globe. The romantic aura of the island also makes it one of the best island destinations for honeymoon.

Thailand offers a wealth of experiences and environments. The most populated beaches and locations can be found in the southern part of the country, but there are a few more private areas sprinkled throughout the nation. Koh Yao Noi is one of these hidden gems and is the perfect getaway location for honeymooners. This article will offer everything you need to know for your escape to paradise!

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Photo Courtesy of Pear Blossom via Wikimedia Commons

Getting There

Getting to Koh Yao Noi can be a bit tricky if you’re not prepared. The island is popular for its secluded and private nature, so visitors are only able to set foot on the island after taking a ferry or speedboat from Bang Rong Pier on the popular island of Phuket. Most tourists will fly into the local airport at Phuket. From here, they’ll be transported by private vehicle to the pier where they’ll load a speed boat or ferry to Koh Yao Noi. As you plan your visit you’ll want to consider departure times from the marina as they keep a pretty consistent schedule that varies by season.

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Photo Courtesy of Martin Bartosch via Flickr

Fun Things to Do for Couples

There are plenty of things to do in Koh Yao Noi. Since it is one of the best Thai islands for honeymoon, so there are lots of romantic couples activities. Here are a few of the most popular:

 

  1. Couples Massage – Massage has always been a Thai tradition and specialty. The island offers some of the world’s most luxurious spas and massage experiences. Consider booking a romantic couples massage at one of the many resorts on the island.

 

  1. Lagoon Kayaking – For the more adventurous couple, the island offers a large variety of kayak rentals and day tours. Lagoon kayaking is one of the more popular options for couples. It’s more laid back, but still allows you to see a large portion of some of the island’s most beautiful, private spaces.

 

  1. Snorkeling – Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities on the island. Koh Yao Noi’s crystal blue waters and elegant reefs make it a hot spot for snorkeling enthusiasts. There are a variety of companies on the island that offer full day or half day excursions to uncharted waters. These tours offer guests some of the best snorkeling in the world.

 

Best Time to Visit

The climate in Thailand varies greatly throughout the year. The months of November to May are considered the dry season while June-October experiences heavy rainfall. Generally, November-February offers the best weather and climate conditions for vacation and provides spells of dry weather perfect for all the outdoor adventures.

 

Amenities in the Area

There are many forms of accommodation in Koh Yao Noi. The island is romantic and secluded, but still offers all the amenities required for a comfortable stay. There is a 7-Eleven upon entry onto the island, but otherwise the amenities are local-based and lack the glitz and glam of flashier brand name stores. This gives visitors a more island-based vibe and provides a unique cultural experience.

The village has a variety of locally owned restaurants, a hospital, a post office, and a few ATM locations. You’ll find that most of the action and amenities are sprinkled along the southern border of the island where most of the island’s beautiful resorts are housed.

For transportation around the island, guests can catch a ride into town on one of the local tuk-tuk pick-up trucks. For the remainder of the stay, scooters are the most popular method. You can hire a driver, or rent them from one of the many local agencies. It’s a fun and unique way to cruise around beautiful Koh Yao Noi.

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Photo Courtesy of Vyacheslav Argenberg via Flickr

Places to Stay

Lodging is a big deal in Koh Yao Noi. There are a variety of housing options suitable for any budget. Here are a few of the more popular accommodations for your romantic getaways:

  1. Six Senses -This unique resort focuses on sustainability and uses natural materials for all of their resort architecture. The resort offers private, elevated villas right off the beautiful bay. This accommodation is relaxing, romantic, and luxurious and is definitely a bit more pricey.

 

  1. Coastal Escape – This new island resort offers stunning views of Phang Nga Bay and also boasts some of the best in-house island cuisine. Guests will enjoy a delightful view, a free one-hour massage at the resort spa, and access to the resort’s activities like mountain biking and kayak rental.

 

  1. Koyao Bay Villas – This local accommodation offers visitors the opportunity to experience their trip like a native. The bungalows are equipped with dark wooden architecture and a local flavor that can’t be beat!

Overall, Koh Yao Noi is one of the best Thai islands for the honeymoon experience. The island offers the perfect balance of seclusion, romance, and activity. If you’re looking for a sweet escape after you say “I do” consider this tropical paradise!

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