LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: I don’t even know why I am blogging about Las Vegas. This is one of the world class tourist destinations in the world and somewhere around 40 million people visit Las Vegas every year. So chances are that everyone who is reading it have been there at least once maybe (mostly for the North Americans).
But I do recommend one thing in Vegas, other than just hopping from one casino to another and trying out all sorts of food or shopping in expensive stores; that is please get out of the city and enjoy the beautiful mountains and valleys that Nevada has to offer. Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Death Valley…some of these places are only half an hour to a few hours of drive and they have majestic landscapes, spectacular mountains with lots of activities to do. These ideal getaways, especially if you are traveling with kids.
I went back to Vegas after about 15 years and it looked almost exactly the same as I remember from 2004. Maybe new hotels here and there or slightly more crowded. But overall, the essence of Las Vegas was still the same…energetic, noisy, hustling, and fun. Yes, it’s an exciting city to be in for any age. For those who are not into gambling like me, believe me you will find something you’ll like everytime you are in this Sin City.
OUR HOTEL: We stayed in Stratosphere Tower or The Strat this time. It’s a bit off the main strip of Vegas, but Uber or public buses are there to take you around. It’s surrounded by many shops and restaurants. Inside the hotel, cafes, steakhouse, buffet, and Starbucks are there. Stratosphere also has Skypod restaurant, extreme rides (like skyjump), observation deck, and rooftop pool. If you are a fan of King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Stratosphere’s theater also arranges MJ Live Tribute Concert every evening. Stratosphere’s buffet is also way cheaper than many other casinos. Depending on the day/night of the year, it’s usually somewhere around $20 per adult.
TIME of TRAVEL: My daughters and I were in Vegas during their winter break of 2019. We stayed there for 4 nights and 3 full days to enjoy as much possible in and around the city. This is a great time to see the Christmas and holiday decorations in each hotel and casino. The temperature is not as warm as I thought it would be. It was around 50s during the day but at night, it drops down to 40s. So carrying a sweater is a good idea.
EATING and SHOPPING: I guess you don’t have to worry much about finding a restaurant in Vegas. Everywhere you look on the boulevard, at least 10 restaurants will be there in every direction. Since my girls and I are big In ‘N Out Burgers’ fans, we ate twice there…on the Linq Promenade. Shake Shack is another excellent burger place you can try. We also had dinner buffet at Stratosphere, called Crafted Buffet. It had all the variety of delicious food yet is cheaper than most of the buffets in town. For around $25 per adult and half the price of kids…we had excellent dinners there twice. Another few places I would recommend, if you are into celebrity TV shows, is trying out celebrity chefs’ restaurants. Bobby Flay, Iron Chef Morimoto, Wolfgang Puck, Giada, and etc…they all have some kind of big of small restaurants in Vegas. Gordon Ramsey has few of his own eateries here too. For one of the lunches, we tried Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen in Caesar’s Palace. My daughters’ baked salmon, burger, and finally…my lobster risotto, phew…I can never forget the taste of that risotto. To finish it off, we had sticky toffee pudding…it was a perfect sweet treat to end the course. We had to wait in line for half an hour but the service is pretty fast and the whole restaurant is themed around the TV show “Hell’s Kitchen” and with blue and red team.
Souvenir shops are almost everywhere in Vegas. We liked the unique ones on Linq Promenade and other factory shops (see below). By the way, In ‘N Out Burgers also has a factory store somewhere around The Strip. Every hotel/casino has their own souvenir shops and other brand name clothing stores too, if you are into brand names.
PLACES WE’VE VISITED: Below are some of the things we did in Las Vegas. Next time, we are definitely going to the downtown area where the world’s largest LCD display can be seen with laser show and all (at least that’s what I heard). Checking out few other casinos/hotels would also be nice for next trip, like Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, or Paris. If you are here for a longer time, drive to Sedona, AZ…a red rock city which makes a great getaway from this busy place.
Below are some of the places we visited, things we did, and shows we watched in Vegas:
2. FACTORY STORES: Few of the fun stores we visited in Las Vegas that my kids absolutely enjoyed were M&M World, Coca-Cola Store, and Hershey’s Chocolate World.
M&M World and Coca-Cola Store are side by side near New York New York Hotel. And Hershey’s Chocolate World is right opposite of the other 2 stores. Fans or not-fans of these snacks and drinks must visit these exciting multi-floored shops just to check out what they have done inside and all the exciting items they sell. We ordered the international coke tray in the Coca-Cola store where you get to taste 16 different coke products from around the world for $15.
3. THE PARK: Right beside New York New York Hotel and Casino, The Park is a delightful place to take a short stroll at night. It looked extra beautiful with Christmas lights and decorations everywhere.
4. SHOWS WE WATCHED: Las Vegas offers hundreds of different kinds of shows and performances all over the town. We caught 3 shows this time: David Copperfield’s Magic show in MGM Grand, Cirque du Soleil’s “O” in Bellagio, and MJ Live – A Michael Jackson Tribute Concert in Stratosphere. You can book these tickets before you go or buy them at your hotel. Depending on the shows and nights, they can get booked pretty quickly.
The only free show we’ve watched was Bellagio’s water fountain show, which takes place every half an hour and lasts for less than 5 minutes. There are other ones as well, which we couldn’t make time to go were 10 minutes free circus performance inside Circus Circus, volcano by the Mirage, and many others. Almost every big hotel on the Strip offers some kind of free show or activities with little money.
5. CASINOS & HOTELS: New York New York was one of our favorites to visit for its cute little NY style alleys/streets like interiors. MGM Grand and Treasure Island was great too…nothing extraordinary. When I first visited Vegas 15 years ago, Caesar’s Palace was on my top list but this time, it didn’t appeal to me much. Nevertheless, it is still a great casino/hotel to check out. Bellagio’s Christmas decorations exceeded our expectations with its grandest and most creative ornaments. A whole section was dedicated to holiday celebration. From kids to adults, everyone was in awe after seeing Bellagio’s magnificent adorning statues, holiday figures, and colorful embellishments.
But to top everything, Venetian was our most favorite (no shocker). From outside, San Marco tower depicting Venice to inside Grand Canal Shoppes, gondola rides, and the whole nine yards…it’s breathtaking. Just being there feels like you are completely in a different world. Have some gelato while walking around the indoor mall.
6. RED ROCK CANYON: Taking a short trip to Red Rock Canyon is almost a must when you are in Vegas. Only half an hour from The Strip, this is a great outdoor heaven that you would not want to miss, especially if you have children. Please visit the right-sidebar to check out the things you can do in Red Rock Canyon.
A fоrmеr соlоnу оf thе Unіtеd Kingdom; Hоng Kоng іѕ nоw оnе оf Chіnа’ѕ brightest stars іn іntеrnаtіоnаl tоurіѕm. Thе сіtу іѕ іnсrеаѕіnglу bесоmіng a global lіnk fоr Chіnа tо ѕhоwсаѕе іtѕ truе сulturе аnd warmth. Bеіng рrіmаrіlу a роrt city, thе Hоng Kоng Special Admіnіѕtrаtіvе Region (SAR) іѕ mаdе uр оf mаnу dіffеrеnt раrtѕ, ѕuсh аѕ Hong Kоng Iѕlаnd, whісh іѕ mоѕt fаmоuѕ аmоng trаvеlеrѕ. Thеn the city has Kowloon, whісh іѕ a ріесе оf lаnd wіth аbоut 2.1 million іnhаbіtаntѕ. China аlѕо hаvе “the nеw tеrrіtоrіеѕ”, whісh іѕ thе nеwеѕt аnd lаtеѕt ріесе оf lаnd tаkеn bу thе British. Finally, thе оutlуіng islands thаt соmрlеtе Hоng Kоng аrе a grоuр оf іѕlаndѕ lосаtеd іn thе ѕоuthеrn раrt оf thе SAR. For your next trip to Aukland from Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific could be your saviors.
Thе mаіn рорulаtіоn hеrе іѕ Chіnеѕе, еxасtlу Hаn, аlthоugh thеrе аrе оthеr grоuрѕ оf Chіnеѕе, ѕuсh аѕ thе lion chews. Yоu саn аlѕо fіnd a соnѕіdеrаblе аmоunt оf Sоuth Aѕіаn communities hеrе which wеrе established ѕеvеrаl уеаrѕ ago. Thе Phіlірріnеѕ, Indonesians, аnd Thаі аrе аlѕо fоund іn lаrgе numbеrѕ. Mоѕt реорlе speak Cantonese hеrе, whісh аddѕ ѕоmе English wоrdѕ.
Thе сlіmаtе hеrе rеmаіnѕ mоdеrаtе fоr mоѕt оf thе уеаr. Thе mіnіmum wіntеr temperature drорѕ tо 10 dеgrееѕ, whіlе maximum ѕummеrѕ аrе аrоund 30 dеgrееѕ. But durіng thе spring mоnthѕ frоm Mаrсh tо Mау, thе wеаthеr іѕ еxtrеmеlу pleasant, wіth tеmреrаturеѕ hоvеrіng аrоund thе 1920ѕ.
Beginning vіѕіtоrѕ ѕhоuld note thаt Hong Kоng hаѕ іtѕ оwn ѕеt оf immigration аnd visa systems, ѕо mainland Chіnа’ѕ entry іntо Hоng Kоng guarantees a nеw vіѕа. Vіѕіtоrѕ arriving bу рlаnе wіll uѕе Hоng Kong International Aіrроrt, whісh іѕ thе island’s main air gateway. Sеvеrаl mаjоr international dеѕtіnаtіоnѕ flу tо Hоng Kоng. Cаthау Pacific аnd Drоgоn Aіr аrе Hоng Kоng’ѕ twо mаіn international саrrіеrѕ.
Frоm thе аіrроrt, thеrе аrе ѕеvеrаl wауѕ tо vіѕіt thе сіtу аnd іtѕ attractions. Onе саn аlwауѕ tаkе thе рublіс buѕ system thаt саn tаkе уоu thrоugh thе fоur districts оf Hоng Kong. Fеrrіеѕ аrе аlѕо a grеаt wау tо gеt tо knоw Mасаu аnd thе іѕlаnd’ѕ роrt. Yоu саn аlѕо uѕе thе ѕubwау аѕ thеrе аrе ѕеvеrаl lіnеѕ thаt аllоw уоu tо сrоѕѕ thе hаrbоr. Frоm thе airport, Airport Express іѕ thе bеѕt wау tо gеt tо thе сіtу.
Thе tоur includes thе сіtу’ѕ famous Porto Skуlіnе, whісh hаѕ bесоmе a tоurіѕt аttrасtіоn. A fеrrу rіdе wоuld оffеr thе bеѕt vіеwѕ оf thе fаmоuѕ Skуlіnе. Othеr аttrасtіоnѕ іnсludе Vісtоrіа Pеаk аnd thе city’s traditional heritage regions. Yоu саn аlѕо tаkе a look аt thе сіtу’ѕ fаmоuѕ muѕеumѕ, whісh include thе Hоng Kоng Hіѕtоrісаl Muѕеum, whісh рrоvіdеѕ a dеtаіlеd view оf thе сіtу’ѕ раѕt аnd рrеѕеnt. Yоu саn аlѕо vіѕіt thе various beautiful beaches hеrе іn thе nеw tеrrіtоrіеѕ.
Thе food hеrе іѕ ԛuіtе diverse but іѕ mоrе іnсlіnеd tо Chіnеѕе аnd seafood. Chорѕtісkѕ аrе uѕеd ԛuіtе оftеn аnd аrе аn іmроrtаnt etiquette durіng Chіnеѕе meals. Sоmе оf thе mоѕt fаmоuѕ lосаl dіѕhеѕ іnсludе Dim Sum, Suі Mеі, Pоrrіdgе, Nооdlеѕ, аnd Tong Sui. Various vаrіеtіеѕ оf seafood аrе аlѕо аvаіlаblе fоr ѕеаfооd lovers.
Thе rulе оf law аnd оrdеr іn thе сіtу іѕ strictly соntrоllеd bу thе роlісе аnd thеrеfоrе thе сіtу hаѕ a lоw сrіmе rate. Unlike оthеr Aѕіаn cities, ѕtrееt crime іѕ low, but уоu nееd tо bе аwаrе оf рісkросkеterѕ іn сrоwdеd mаrkеtѕ.
Nоt ѕurе whаt соuld bе a grеаt рlасе tо ѕреnd уоur vасаtіоn? Thе Travel Guide to Aukland from Hong Kong іѕ juѕt a brief guіdе tо organizing уоur trip.
RED ROCK CANYON, LAS VEGAS: When you think about Las Vegas, for most of the tourists, you don’t really imagine it being a place where people go hiking or mountain climbing or go mingling with nature as much. Only half an hour ride from the heart of Las Vegas Blvd, Red Rock Canyon is a fantastic getaway from the city chaos and to appreciate the great outdoors. Locals love Las Vegas, not for the boulevard, but for the spectacular hills and valleys that it has to offer.
This is an open museum to enjoy some natural views, stunning landscapes, rock formations, and learn some facts on how Indian tribes lived here hundreds of years ago in the harsh environment. My kids definitely loved it and learned a lot on some local history, native Americans and their lifestyle, geology, and etc. According to our guide, the park has so many hiking trails that even if you hike everyday of the year in Red Rock Canyon, you still won’t have to repeat your trail.
I booked this trip online through Viator with Red Rock Canyon Discovery Tour weeks before reaching Las Vegas. For about $75 per person, we had this guided 3 hours of tour. We started around 9am and were dropped off by noon. There are other longer and different versions of Red Rock Canyon tours with different activities and prices. But for me and the kids, 3 hours out of The Strip was perfect and were back to the city right on time for lunch.
OUR HOTEL: We stayed in Stratosphere Hotel or The Strat this time. Red Rock Canyon Discovery Tour doesn’t have pick up from here. So we met up with the guide in front of Treasure Island on The Strip.
TIME of TRAVEL: It was during the winter holiday of 2019 when we came to Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon can be slightly colder than the city. Make sure to bring a hoodie or a heavy sweater and wear very comfortable shoes here. If you are coming in summer, bring plenty of water and maybe a hat. Since it’s out in the desert, I can imagine the extreme heat can cause some serious problems if you are not prepared, especially if you are planning to hike.
EATING and SHOPPING: There isn’t really any place to eat in the conservation area that we’ve seen. Not sure if picnic is allowed here either. Officially camping is prohibited inside the park but climbers still do camp on the high hills when it gets dark.
PLACES WE’VE VISITED: After the visitors center, we stayed on the Scenic Loop Drive to stop at different areas of the park. The roads are clearly marked with all the signs. Some places we stopped at are below:
CALICO HILLS: This was our first and probably my favorite spot. Beautiful red rocks, small hills, canyons, and the sheer rugged beauty of this place is simply breathtaking.
HIGH POINT OVERLOOK: This was another look out point with vast landscape and small mountains.
WILLOW SPRINGS: There are few hidden falls and streams in the park which we didn’t get to see. Willow Springs is a point where a tiny stream flows in the woods. We also saw ancient handprints on a stone wall here. Other tribal hieroglyphics can be found few areas in this park. Our guide also gave us some insights how native Americans used different plants for different purposes and how they helped them survive.
Reunions, conferences, destination weddings, vacations, and business trips have one thing in common. All these events require you to travel. And what do you need when you travel? Luggage!
Since not all luggage is the same, you have to know what you should buy. Do you prefer a vintage style suitcase over standard black colored ones? Or do you like stylish bags with ornaments like tags, covers, and straps? Either way, you have to know how to choose a piece of quality luggage, regardless of style and color preferences.
Know that the right luggage piece can make commuting stress-free and seamless. On the other hand, the wrong one can be a source of problems during your trip.
So, how will you know that a luggage set can last for a long time? Here are some tips to help you sort this question out.
Choose the right bag fit for the occasion
There are countless of luggage and bags available. If you are in a hurry, you can get easily tempted to go for the “good enough” or “okay” one. Sadly, the “okay” bag turns out to be a bad choice for you. Buying and using the wrong bag means that you might end up overstuffing it or carrying a bulky one.
The perfect bag is mainly dependent on the duration of your trip and the items you are taking with you. If you frequently travel for different reasons and durations, it is helpful if you have a variety of suitcases to choose from.
If it is you are still starting to invest in a suitcase, it is practical to consider the type of trip you most frequently take. If you often travel for leisure, you can invest in a luxury vintage style suitcase for added style and character.
If most of your travels are for work and you usually stay in a place for three to five days, go for a medium-sized 23 or 24-inch luggage. If you frequently travel on weekends, an 18 or 20-inch hand-carry suitcase is most ideal for your needs.
Buy from companies that have excellent customer service
Never take customer service for granted. If you buy cheap suitcases from chain stores, you cannot expect much from their customer service.
Verify how long such a company has been in business and how they deal with customer complaints. Also, check if their CS reps are easily accessible. It would be beneficial if you have the company’s number where an actual person answers customer calls.
Never forget to check the guarantee that comes along with your luggage purchase
Since you will be investing in a piece of luggage, it is logical to know if the manufacturer offers a guarantee on how long their product will remain in good condition. The luggage should, at least, withstand the normal wear and tear of travel and storage.
If your luggage gets damaged, you can use the warranty for repair or replacement. And if you need to have the bad replaced, you can also use the same guarantee to get a replacement piece for free.
You have the final say when choosing the right luggage for your travels. And since you have the last word, you must observe due diligence in making sure that you are also protecting your interest as a buyer. Read, research, and ask questions. These will not only help you purchase the right luggage, but it will also make you a more knowledgeable and informed buyer.
The Caribbean’s best-kept secret is the island of Anguilla. The island has an embargo currently on casinos, cruise ships, and high-rise hotels, so if you love fuss-free adventure and low-key beachfront rentals, this paradise puts you right into deep relaxation mode. The live music scene is also fun to experience, and the luxurious resort side to this island offers more amenities and premium exhibitions.
Even though it is one of the smaller islands at 15 miles long and 3 miles, it still boasts 33 different beaches. Wtih gThe powdery smooth sand and crystal blue waters is mesmerizing, and the palm trees swaying plays into every relaxing meditation video you have ever seen. While beautiful, there are some things that can put a damper on your trip.
These tips can make your trip more memorable and show you the best parts of the island while also staying in the best possible accommodations.
Don’t Miss Sandy Island
For a day of snorkeling and relaxation around the edges of Anguilla, going to Sandy Island is a must. You can take a small charter boat out to explore or catch a shuttle to the Sandy Ground Beach pier. Either way, this is one of the best day trips to try when visiting Anguilla. Unlike many of the smaller trips, Sandy Island also has some restaurants and a rental station where you can pickup snorkeling gear.
Pick the Right Season
The best time to go to Anguilla is between May and August. This is when you will likely get the best weather and avoid the terrible hurricane season. Hotel prices and Anguilla luxury house rentals tend to be lower in April and September, which is considered the off season. The most expensive time to visit is when most of the island shuts down, which is from early winter until March.
Saving Money in Anguilla
Since there aren’t any direct flights from the US to Anguilla, you may think you have to charter a flight to the island, but you can actually fly to nearby islands like Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Antigua, or St. Martin-St. Maarten. Then, you can catch a connection flight.
Hotels are a waste of money when you can spend so much less by searching Anguilla luxury house rentals. Many of the hotels here offer all-inclusive pricing, which can lead you to not experience the island and spend more at the resort. Instead, you can avoid gratuities and incidental hotel fees by renting a luxurious home on the island or a villa.
In addition, renting a house allows you to save money on food, too. You can shop at the local markets on the island, experience some of the culture, and then make your own dinner for quiet nights by the beach at home. The live music scene ramps up when the sun goes down, and there are plenty of places to explore and find dancing until the early morning hours.
Don’t Hire a Tour Guide
You may wind up in an Anguilla tour, which can be quite expensive, but if you plan correctly and look at things to do beforehand, you can just experience the best parts of the island. In addition, the taxi drivers make the best guides to understanding where to eat and what to do once you get there. It’s also the best way to get around since there are hardly any street signs on some parts of the island.
Some of the local favorite hot spots include:
As you head out around Anguilla, you’ll find a lot of the night life is in The Valley, which is in the capital city. However, it’s also home to some historic sites, such as the Wallblake House. Finally, you should always remember to pack your sunglasses, sunscreen, and a good pair of walking sandals. These are the best accessories in island exploration as you head out around Anguilla.