Tag Archives: travel

Golden Bright Las Vegas 2020

The Entertainment state of Nevada

Las Vegas is my next stop going around the USA. The flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas took over an hour. I actually laughed when I noticed the slot machines in the airport. This is the only airport that I’ve ever traveled to that is actively promoting gambling, to say the least! The Cosmopolitan Hotel was my home during this trip. The view from the top floor is the fantastic Las Vegas strip and the beautiful Bellagio fountain. I can’t help but compare it to the fountains in the Dubai Mall which I’ve had the privilege of visiting last year. The Dubai Mall Fountain is the “world’s largest choreographed fountain system in the world so I might be a bit biased in choosing that as the best that I’ve seen. It is simply amazing!

Knowing Las Vegas

Officially known as the City of Las Vegas, the city is a wide 135 square miles sitting in a basin in the Mojave Desert. Typically, it has a subtropical climate – lots of hot summer sun and short winters.  It ranks 28th as the most populous city in the USA and is currently home to more than two million people. Las Vegas prides itself in being a leader in the hospitality industry with it being one of the world’s best tourist destinations.

The Las Vegas Strip

Hotels and casinos are, of course, the major stars in drawing people to Las Vegas. And you can get them all just walking along the famous Las Vegas Strip. The bright lights are still there even with the pandemic. The casinos, restaurants, and bars are open but with strict policies in place. Patrons are limited to 50% capacity only and face masks are mandatory everywhere. Social distancing is the new normal so no dancing for everyone and concerts are still not allowed. Fremont Street is famous as the home of most of the casinos in the downtown area. The Stratosphere or more commonly known now as The Strat, is the exception though, as it is located on Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s tower boasts of a gorgeous view of the Strip.
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The view from The Strat
It is guaranteed that you can find a hotel here whatever budget or style or preference you want. I cannot wait to come back here when the world is back to normal! I’m planning to watch the shows especially Cirque du Soleil and to dance in clubs like XS nightclub at the Wynn hotel.

Food and Shopping

Restaurants are all around the Strip and you can find any kind of cuisine. We dined at several restaurants around and I can’t help but marvel at how cosmopolitan everything is. The Golden Steer Steakhouse is the most memorable in our food trip. I simply like their steak! Will definitely be back to eat at the famous Mon Ami Gabi, Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips, and Cucina by Wolfgang Puck someday. The Forum Shops at Caesars is a must-see to a shopaholic like me. I am a huge fan of high-end stores and The Forum does not disappoint. With it’s almost 700 thousand square foot space, everything that I can think of is housed in this elegant space. I read that it is the highest-grossing mall in the US in terms of sales per square foot. How’s that for good news? I can probably spend a couple of days exploring this and still feel like I haven’t bought anything. LOL!

Trip to The Hoover Dam

Since we’re already in Nevada, we took a side trip to a big destination – The Hoover Dam.  For movie fans like me, this dam is heavily featured in the 2007 movie The Transformers. Remember where they kept Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons? The dam is where the government kept him in “cryostasis suspension since 1935” according to the movie. I would have loved to go underneath and see for myself if somethings from the movie are still there! But seriously, the dam is a mighty power generator on its own. It is a hydroelectric power plant that generates more than 2,000 megawatts in its generators. Hooray for clean energy!
white and brown bridge over river

Other things to do

Like all the other places I’ve visited before, Las Vegas has activities outside of the casinos. There are hiking trails in the Valley of Fire State Park where you can go walking and picnic in the splendor of the great outdoors.  If you’re all about speed, Las Vegas has three unique ways to get your pedal to metal dream come true. There’s Exotics Racing, Speed Vegas, and Dream Racing which will get your heart a glorious workout. Can you imagine going around the track in the sports car of your dreams? You bet I’ll be trying this on next time!
That’s it for my Las Vegas trip this year. I am so looking forward to going around again without the Covid threat. I can’t wait to get the full Las Vegas experience next time!
Until then, keep safe everyone!

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and one of the most popular destinations in this part of the world. Showing a country rich not only financially but in its deep culture, it boasts of a grand museum called the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the historical building Fort Qasr Al-Hosn. A megacity like this will also have exciting places to go and they have the ultimate adrenalin venue in Ferrari World.

A trip to Dubai is also a family visit for me as I spent some precious time with my sister and my adorable niece. Here we are in our traditional hijab while in the Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. As we are Muslims, we show respect and wear a hijab when we worship. It is very important for me to get in touch with my culture and to share it with everyone who means a lot to me.

 

So, on to more adventures! Stay safe everyone and happy travels!

BORACAY – Philippines

BORACAY

For over a decade now, Boracay has been the crown jewel of the best of the best places in the Philippines to go to. It was named the best island in the world for several consecutive years starting from 2012.

Clear blue seas and white sand beaches drove tourists – local and foreign alike – to bask in its glory. I have always loved the sea and the beaches here are perfect. The local government catered to the needs of the tourists and made sure that there are enough restaurants, hotels, and other accommodation to make Boracay a prime destination for everyone.

Paradise Lost

Sadly, the rampant progress of all the tourism businesses made the once-pristine paradise a cesspool of humanity’s refuse and neglect. The clear water became green with algae and other debris. The beaches got ruined with trash and the noise levels became pollution. The devastation was gradual but it quickly became so much worst. Boracay was almost destroyed.

The current Philippine government put its foot down and closed Boracay for rehabilitation. A lot of people disagreed and there was so much hatred for this move that it was front-page news everywhere. Even with all that, the Philippine’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources pushed through and got the job underway.

The clean up of the beaches from debris and trash was the easiest to be done. Next was to file charges to hotels and other establishments which are dumping their waste directly to the water. It took precious time to do all this! After everyone complied, the seas were scoured for other debris and constantly tested for a safe PH level.

Paradise Return

Finally, after almost a year of rehabilitation, Boracay is once again back to its natural beauty. The government imposed strict rules to ensure that the environment is protected at all times. I am just so proud that the Philippines was able to get Boracay to its glory.

The number of tourists allowed to come to Boracay is now heavily controlled. Plastic is banned — and so are its variations, like straws and bags. All corporate conventions and events are also strictly monitored and heavily discouraged. So for party animals who love the famous May 1 weekend all-night dance event here called “La Boracay“, it morphed to “#LoveBoracay”. The move aims to keep this paradise from denigrating again. Cleaning up and making sure that people comply with the environmental rules on the beach like no smoking on the beach, no drinking liquor, no pets etc..

 

 

Travel to Hong Kong

What makes Hong Kong so popular?

Shopping!

Without question, Hong Kong is the ultimate shopping destination in Asia. This city state is small but packs a really big punch with its fast-faced economy co-existing with its ancient Chinese culture. International labels can be found in its famous shopping district in Nathan Street. Trust me, you can shop American and European brands here with ease.

If you’re looking for bargains, Hong Kong has night markets that sell everything from souvenirs to bags to clothes to decorations to scarves to calligraphy tools and tons more than you can possibly think of. There are more than a dozen night markets in Hong Kong but the ones I liked best are the Ladies Market in Mong Kok and the Temple Street Night Market in Yau Ma Tei. What’s more, the sellers expect you to haggle prices so be prepared to charm them if you really want something.

Travel tip:

The night markets start at around 7PM so be sure to come early to get good bargains. Better bring your own big shopping bag as its super hassle to carry small bags of things you bought.

World class

Hong Kong’s famous skyline boasts really tall buildings in the business district. This tiny city state is home to all the industries in the world. Their economy is stable enough to make them one of the world’s first class cosmopolitan centers.

Check out the breathtaking view from our hotel room in the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel where we stayed for three days.

As in any small state, housing seems to be answered by the tall condominiums that I saw everywhere. Some of them are as tall as 40 stories high from what I can estimate and the towers are so closely built together. You can imagine the amount of people inside this compound!

Travel tip:

Always check a guide or a map wherever you visit especially in Hong Kong where the buildings are all tall in most places and the sidewalks are really crowded and narrow. You can easily get turned around and get lost in the side streets. Although English is fluently spoken in the business district and the high end shops, some of the smaller stores and restaurants as well as taxi drivers are still predominantly Chinese speaking so be sure to travel with a local for those out of the way areas or get your translations written by and ready.

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Ancient Culture

One of the best things to do when visiting a country is to learn about its culture. Reading about it is good and being able to see it for yourself is even better. I make it a point to visit a temple or a church whenever I visit a new place to get a small glimpse of their history. In Hong Kong, I had the chance to visit the Big Buddha Statue or Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island. This is the view from the cable car ride in Ngong Ping that I took going there. From HK$135 to HK$213 round trip, you can experience a very scenic view for about 30 minutes till you get there.

 

 The Big Buddha is really amazing! It’s almost 35 meters tall and it sits on a very green forest so walking up the stairs to see it up close is worth it. I took this perfect chance to pose in this circular stage/entry when no other tourists were around. I love that the statue is directly above me making it a perfect shot.

 

 

The long walk upwards is worth it to be able to see the ancient houses, the temple and light incense sticks for your wishes in the altars around the base. The Po Lin Monastery sits on the base of the enormous statue and its monks preserve the sanctity of the temple. I was fortunate enough to see the monks around and observed their activities while going through their prayer rituals.

Travel tip:

Going up to the statue is free. Check the weather forecast even before going to Hong Kong. When it’s foggy and raining, going up to the Big Buddha is not worth it as you won’t be able to see the magnificent views going there and even the Buddha itself will be covered in fog. The best time to go to Hong Kong is from November to February when the sun is shining but the cold winds from China travels down to its small sister state. You can check accuweather’s website for this valuable info.

Hiking in Hong Kong

Hiking is a popular sport here in Hong Kong. Dragon’s Back Hike is one of the most famous trails here. It has one of the most scenic views around the island. Then you can swim or sunbathe in Big Wave Bay after a long mostly downhill trek afterwards. I hiked in Lantau Island and the trek and view was breathtaking in a really nice way.

Travel tip:

Check the weather before going out hiking to avoid any accidents. Water bottles, towels and snacks are necessary for these treks so bring as much as you can. Insect repellents are also a good thing to have at all times just to be sure.

Disneyland Hong Kong

A visit to Hong Kong is not complete without visiting Disneyland. Smaller than its sibling in Tokyo, Hong Kong’s Disneyland is still a paradise to indulge the Disney princess in me. Walk around the park and join the various theme rides and booths. The theater shows are really at world class levels with professional performers on stage. I love the music and the songs, of course, are very nostalgic.

Disney shopping is a must

If you want to get gifts to take home, get it all inside Disneyland. The shops are all full of very nice high quality products for kids and also for adults. You can find not only souvenirs here but also really nice toys, clothes, household things and even jewelry to remember your stay. I love my Minnie Mouse ears and I’ve just got to pose in Main Street here!

Travel tip:

Hong Kong Disneyland is a very popular tourist destination specially on weekends and holidays. Check their website for day passes you can purchase online to avoid the long que for tickets going into the theme park. Each day pass costs about HK$630 inclusive of a meal ticket. You can also get lots of savings if you stay in the Disney hotels of course. There’s Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Disney Explorer’s Lodge and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and all of them will steep you in all things magically Disney.

Hong Kong is a very memorable destination and really worth going to.

From Manila, there are around six airlines going to and from Hong Kong everyday. Philippine airlines has the most number of direct flights everyday followed by Cathay Pacific with three direct flights daily.

Have you been to Macao?

Macao = Casinos

My first impression of Macao is that they really love casinos here. It seems that almost the whole place is just one big casino. The lights are so bright and you can feel the energy of the place especially at night.

Check out my pictures here. Aren’t they a sight to see?

A simple Google search and I found out that Macao is at the top of the gambling destination in the world. It even earned the title “The Asian Las Vegas” and gambling is still the main source of income in this small Asian territory.

Macau was under Portugal’s rule for hundreds of years and was only returned as a province of China in 1911. It is the first and last European colony in the world. Today, you can still see how European some of the buildings and structures are all over Macao. To visit there is to find a perfect image of East meets West with its mainly local Chinese population mixing their culture like food and traditions with those of their European beginnings.

Tourists like us flock to Macau by the millions every year. Luxury resorts, good food and a great climate are great reasons to visit this vibrant place.

A small bit of Paris in Asia

I stayed in the Parisian Macau Hotel and I fell in love with this small bit of Paris. You can see the murals in the ceilings and it impressed me so much as its so classic! The red lobby of this hotel is really gorgeous, right? The gold accents on the walls and ceilings is so rich and positively screams luxury. I can’t help but take pictures of the chandeliers that lights up the hotel so warmly and so welcoming.

I can’t say enough about the amazing views from this hotel and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to visit Macau. The Parisian Macau is truly world class.

I cannot resist dressing up and of course taking pictures! 🙂

For a dinner at The Kitchen, Grand Lisboa, I wore this long black dress that made me feel so gorgeous. I also had to take a picture beside these gold murals in the hotel pool. Don’t you think it looks perfect as a background to me and my black swim suit? 🙂

Visit Venetian

The Venetian is also a great place to visit in Macau. Just looking at it from the outside is already impressive as its so big! A little search and I found out that its the worst largest casino and hotel. Imagine having 3,000 rooms? No, that wasn’t a typo, it’s not 300 but 3,000. The lighting at night and its very unusual shape are both Instagram-able.

Check out the first pics on top. Super impressive, right? Wait till you see the inside. It looks and feels like you’re walking in a street in a shopping district somewhere with all the designer shops and restaurants inside. You can even ride a gondola right inside this hotel’s man-made flowing river. There’s also the very tall ceiling painted in sky blue and what looks like clouds on it. You can easily forget that you are actually inside a huge casino!

Macau’s local sites

When I travel abroad, visiting historical sites is always on my mind. You learn a lot of the country’s culture that way. In Macau, the most famous site is The Ruins of St. Paul. The façade or the front of the church is the only thing remaining of this church from the 17th century. A fire destroyed it in 1835 and damaged almost the whole building.

Another must see in Macau is Senado Square. I love the mosaic colored stones paving this place in a fabulous wave pattern. The work that must have been done to get that laid out must have been staggering! The buildings surrounding it are also a very pretty with all its pastel colors.

There are other places to see in Macau but I didn’t have enough time to visit. There’s the A Ma Temple, Guia Fortress and the Statue of the Goddess of Mercy in Kun Iam Ecumenical Centre. I will surely include them in the next time that I get to visit Macau.

My travel tips

The best time to visit Macau is from October to December where they’ll have their autumn and winter season.

To visit, I highly suggest going there from Hong Kong riding the ferry. It’s about an hour away and costs about HK$200. Luckily, most nationalities do not need a visa to go to Macau and the immigration processing in the port area is really fast. The ferry also leaves every 15 minutes so you can be sure to be on schedule every time.

Until next time everyone! Happy travels!

Jordan – a glimpse of history

 

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More than a marvel, Petra is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. It is also the most important tourist attraction in Jordan. Groups of tourists from all over the world visit this site every year. Located 240 km south of Amman and 120 km from the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea Bahar Al Mayet, Petra is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Once upon a time, it was the capital city of the Nabatean Arabs.

WHERE TO STAY IN PETRA 

Wadi Musa or Betra has hotels by the block so you have nothing to worry about. Booking online is even easier so you’ll avoid the inconvenience in case it’s the peak season (from March to May or September to November) when hotels are fully booked. 

HOW MUCH DID TICKETS COST ME AT PETRA?

For Jordanians 1JD – 1.4$

Children under 15 are free of charge.

WHAT IS THE OPENING AND CLOSING TIME TO VISIT PETRA?

6 am to 4 pm 

Go there the earliest that you can. You can really enjoy the experience more. As everyone would be asked to leave the site when it gets dark.

WHAT TO WEAR?

Hiking shoes are the best kind. However, you can use running shoes if you’re more comfortable with them. Be prepared to walk around the site as there aren’t any motorized vehicles allowed inside.

Check out some travel tips on this site. Luckily, it lists some very good tips on safety and rules to remember when you visit Petra.

Dead sea 

Dead sea Earth’s lowest elevation on land.

 

The Ancient City of Jerash 

Jordan’s The Citadel is also another breathtaking place to visit. Can you see the middle picture above? That’s the remains of the Temple of Hercules. They are on a very high hill and is very visible around the town. You can see how small the people are compared to the column right? Imagine how the rest of the temple might have looked like when it was still in all its glory thousands of years ago. It must have been breathtaking! 

Hi AM DIANA

What can i say about my self hmm

Am Palestinian Jordanian filipina who like to experience new things in life

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do in life because i get to meet new culture in each country i been and wanna go to in future i decided to write and shear my experience and to be experience with my photos to help people understand where they are traveling to and the expectations

I would love to hear from your experience as well 🙂

Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment