Saturday, November 24, 2007

Las Vegas

My visit to this sin-city (oh yeah!) in November'07 was wonderful. After my return, one of my friends was asking me about my know-how there and I sent her a long email compiling my experience and also a few free things to see/do in Vegas. So here I am sharing it with you all. And as a bonus, you get to see Fabulous Las Vegas through my eyes!

Caution: The article below is from my point of view. Use your own discretion when making your plans for a visit to Vegas.

Ok, here you go. After going through all the flight and hotel deals, we finally found one that I thought was good for us. We deliberated about 2-3 days before actually making a choice.

Internet: That’s your best friend when you are planning your vacation. First, get hold of a Strip Map of Vegas. Second, Google for ‘things to do in Vegas’ and jot down all the things that you find interesting and want to do or see may be. Third, Plan your schedule accordingly. If you are a Vegas Virgin (First timers there like me), then I would suggest that 3-4 days should be good enough.

About Accommodations:

  • There are hotels available for all budgets. Personally, I would advice to have one in the strip (middle of the strip is where we were and it was very convenient) or anywhere close-by.
  • Some of the hotels give you lot of goodie’s if you checked in with them. Make use of it. Check for it all before you finalize.
  • Stratosphere looks great and was actually our first choice when we wanted to book one. But later we learnt that it is at the far end (north) of the strip (which is roughly 7.2 Kms) and having to commute to other casino's are a pain from there.
  • The rates are high on Friday and Saturday Nights. Plan your vacation during other days so as to save huge on accommodation.

Travel in and around Vegas:

  • Walk: Yes. Be prepared to do a lot of walking while you are in Vegas. Wear your most comfortable walking shoes.
  • Bus: There is a bus service that runs up-down the strip every 10-15 mins. The stops are convinient and are accessible to all casinos. A day-pass for this service is like $5. Cheap isn’t it? But make sure you have the exact change to pay for your fare.
  • Trams: Free Tram rides are available between major adjacent casino’s. Make use of it. Helps you save your breath to explore the casino's inside.
  • Monorail and CAT buses are also available. And of course the Cabs!
  • You could also rent a car or a bike even for a day and explore the city.
  • Airport Shuttles: No need to book in advance for your airport to hotel transfer. Once you exit the airport, there are few bus services that are available. Just go and pay (I think it was roughly $7 per head for 2 way) at the counter and they will show you a bus/cab to get in. Only Hitch: you need to wait for the bus/cab to fill in and wait patiently as he drops other visitors en route to your hotel.
  • But if you are in a hurry and can spare few extra bucks: rent a cab ($15+Tips) or a Limo. :)

Clothing: Check for weather forecasts. November second week was pretty hot n sunny in the day and was rather chilly at night. Casual comfortable clothing should be perfect. Carry your formal attire in case you want to dine in one of those cool/signature restaurants (check for dress code before you plan your meal there). Some shows require formal dressing as well.

Some recommendations for FREE things to do / see in Las Vegas:

  • The Lion habitat at the MGM Grand
  • The Volcano Fountain in front of the Mirage
  • The Dancing Fountain Show in front of the Bellagio
  • The Bellagio Conservatory (near the lobby). While you are there, check out the ceilings.
  • Also the painted ceilings in the Venetian. They are so good.
  • Gondola watching at The Venetian
  • Grand Canal Shops / St. Mark's Square at the Venetian
  • Gaze upon the Eiffel Tower and Stroll the streets of Paris
  • Street of New York City at Newyork Newyork
  • Wildlife Habitat of Flamingo's at the Flamingo
  • Roman Statues, Free circular aquarium at Cesar's Casino and Forum Mall.
  • The free Sirens of TI in front of Treasure Island
  • Circus show at the Circus Circus.
  • Thunder Rainstorm at Miracle Shops, Planet Hollywood.
  • Water Falls in front of Wynn

Some other recommendations (with $$)

  • Gondola Ride
  • Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
  • White Tigers and Dolphin habitat at Mirage (closes by 5PM)
  • Rides at Newyork Newyork and Stratosphere
  • Strip view from the Stratosphere tower
  • Eiffel Tower observation deck
  • Musical Shows
  • Magic Shows
  • Helicopter ride night view of the strip

Recommended Websites: for discounted tickets to shows, food.

Miracle Shops, Caesars Forum Mall, Fashion Mall etc etc.

Restaurants: are in plenty, everywhere. I don’t think one will ever starve of food there. :)

And lastly, if you've got a day or half to spare, do visit the mighty Grand Canyon. Yea, it’s Grand! Various tours options are available from Vegas. You could chose from a bus ride, helicopter ride or flight-bus combination. There are plenty. During peak season, suggest you do an advance booking. We did a flight-bus combination to the South-Rim and it was good. But after seeing the canyon, we felt that a couple of hours aren’t enough to marvel at the nature's art. We plan to go and stay there for couple of days and do the hiking and stuff. Hope it happens soon. Amen!

PS: Photos coming in next post. :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

B R Hills

Country: India

State: Karnataka

An interesting getaway from Mysore for nature enthusiasts is the Biligiri Rangana Hills popularly known as the B.R.Hills. Though these hills are famous for the ancient temple on top of the hills, it is also home to a lesser-known wildlife sanctuary.

BR Hills is about 120kms from Mysore. The hills are ideally located between the Cauvery and Kapila rivers. The lower hills are covered with rich deciduous forests that are home to a large number of elephants.

To visit the temple on top of the hill you can either climb the 150 steps leading to the temple or drive through the lush green forests. The temple is dedicated to Biligiri Rangaswamy and the temple is built in the Dravidian style.There is accommodation in the sanctuary in the form of Jungle lodges and resorts. At the K.Gudi (Kyathadevara Gudi) Wilderness Camp, you are in nature’s lap. The best time to get a good look at the wildlife is at dawn.

I enjoyed my visit there and I hope you all like it too.

Above: Temple Garden

Below: Dense Forest

Above: Temple on top of the hills

Above: Scenic View
Below: Wild elephant spotted in the jungle

Above: Gaur
Below: Spotted Deer

Around the temple

Log Hut @ the Jungle Lodges and camp in K Gudi

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lake Tahoe

Country: United States of America
State: Nevada

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the United States. It is located along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City, Nevada. The lake is known for the clarity of its water and the panoramic mountains surrounding on all sides. I've never seen a lake so blue..

Happy Tahoe-seeing!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Manali, India

Country : India (North)
State: Himachal Pradesh

The picturesque Manali is situated at the northen end of the Kullu Valley. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm's length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline.
Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. It is said that He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage.
Hidimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, Rohtang Pass, Vashisth Hot Sulphur Springs are some of the attractions.

Above: Road side store renting warm jackets
Below: Kurigalu Sir Kurigalu! Sheeps' blocking the narrow road uphill.

Above: Picturisque Isn't it?!

Above: Innovative idea to keep the drinks cold.
Below: On the way to Rohtang Pass

Above: Yak
Below: Mother and daughter, Manali

Above: Vashisht Maharaj temple
Below: Hidimba Mata Temple

Above: Rohtang Pass

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

About this blog...

Travel and Photography are two of my passions. What a nice way to journal these two interests of mine: Travel Photo Blog!

I have travelled quite a bit (yes, only a bit) and there are so many more places to cover. I hope to see it all fine day! My list of must-see-places never seem to end. From the forests of Amazon to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, from the majestic Pyramids of Giza to the amazinngly marvelous Tajmahal in India, I want to see it all. I sound greedy right? Well... I cant help it! Atleast I want to see the new seven wonders of the world. (crossing my fingers for the same)

Am not a great photographer..but I like to go click click whenever I can. Some of my works has been appreciated by my friends. I hope to improve, once I get hold of a SLR. (yeah, thats what I've been asking my husband to gift me for our anniversary ;) ) I know.. greedy again!
This blog is a way to see the world through my eyes (aka my camera's eyes). I hope you all like it. Please share your photographs too.. I would definitely love to feature it in my guest blog.

"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." –- Henry Miller