Vegas To New York

Where do I start from?
The Casinos or the SkyScrapers!!
The Gambling City or the City that Never Sleeps!!
Las Vegas or New York!!

Everything about both the cities is completely different with each one having it’s own charm.The never ending world of casinos where time has no value with that delusion of coming closer to deep pockets!
On the other hand, New York , a concrete jungle with people constantly hustling all along the day!

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At The Venetian, Las Vegas

My trip to both Vegas and New York are short two day trips. This blog would definitely help you get an idea about the places to explore, if you are a first time visitor and if you have less time on hand.

Let’s just start with travel tips for each of these cities!

Las Vegas

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Temperature : Around 40-43 C (In August)
Well, It’s a desert, what else can you expect!

Accommodation : We stayed at The Venetian Resort. We chose weekdays for Vegas as the otherwise expensive luxurious accomodation seemed affordable (especially, plan it during the weekdays just before a long weekend – you would end up getting great deals)

For those of you who aren’t aware about this casino world, Vegas has numerous hotels/resorts which have casinos and clubs of their own which are open for the visitors. It’s totally up to you about how many you would like to visit and explore. I will let you know the main ones in this blog

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The World of Casino

 

Things To Do:

Walk along The Strip – It’s the main street of Vegas where all the action happens. Sprawling with casinos, resorts, strip clubs, and a lot more, this street should be the first place you should visit to get the actual vibe of the place (preferably in the night). It looks spectacular in the night with all those brightly lit buildings.

Explore The Venetian and Caesers Palace – These are two exquisite resorts with Italian and Roman themed architecture respectively. Both of them are open for visitors to roam around, shop and gamble. Both of them host one of the biggest casinos, luxury brands outlet stores and some decent restaurants.

Watch the Bellagio Fountain Show  – It is an incredible 15 min fountain show where the fountain movement is choreographed with light and music. It usually starts at 8 pm and goes on till midnight (Do check the timings as it might vary for weekdays and weekends)

Experience Night Clubs and Strip Clubs  –  The Night Club experience is particularly different in Vegas. Few popular ones are Omnia, Marquee and XS. The strip clubs in Vegas are famous too. You can try them if you are interested

Watch the Volcano Show at Mirage – This is one more fountain show which gives the illusion of a volcanic eruption with light and fire, along with choreographed movement of it with music. It is a 5 min show which happens daily at 7 pm/8pm/9 pm.

Explore Vegas Shows – Cirque du Soleil is one of the popular shows in Vegas. I couldn’t find a show during my visit. If you do get a chance, try that. There are many other shows that one could see. (Entry Charge is slightly expensive for this show – around 100$)

Try Daiquiri – It’s a cocktail where you can mix the flavours of your choice. There are many stores on the strip which offer these. Fat Tuesday’s daiquiri is one of the popular ones.

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At ‘The Strip’

Travel Tips :

Good night clubs usually has an entry charge which is almost like 100$. You can avoid that by getting on to the guest list in advance for a specific night club (Google about guest list for a club — you will find lot of links to submit your name). Only disadvantage of guest list is that you need to be there by 8/9 pm which I feel is a decent tradeoff for 100$

Plan your vacation in Vegas during weekdays when the accomodation charges are almost 1/4th the price during weekends

Be there for the fountain shows at-least 15 min before the show timing so that you have some space to view it, before the crowd steps in.

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At Caesars Palace

New York

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Times Square

Temperature : Around 15-20 C (In September)
It was raining heavily too on one day (So, plan for some winter and monsoon wear if you plan to visit around the same time)

Accommodation : I stayed at my cousin’s place. Accomodation in NYC is expensive enough. If you are a budget traveller like me, try couch surfing or staying at New Jersey or Brooklyn (which have decent travel access to NYC).

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Streets near WTC

Places to Visit:

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Times Square

Times Square – Of course, who misses to visit the Time Square if you are visiting NYC. The huge digital banners changing all the time, the artists and the crowd is what makes Time Square the place it is! It is definitely different and entertaining to spend your evenings around here.

Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo – I personally loved the view from Dumbo which is on the other side of Hudson river giving the entire view of NYC. I found Brooklyn Bridge to be a little overhyped but the view from there is decent 🙂

Empire State Building  – Checking out the panoramic view of the city from the 84th floor of  Empire State Building should be on your list. I visited the place in the morning but it would be much more beautiful if you can visit once the sun sets. It is open till 2 am in the morning. Entry fee is around 35$ to go to the deck

Financial District – World Trade Center, Wall Street : The area around WTC is where the twin towers of NYC were! If you are interested, there is a museum about the twin towers and the tragic event.

Apart from this, the streets around WTC have great wall art, and good food options. One can just walk around to explore the place

Fifth Avenue – It’s a street for luxury shopping. If you are into it, this is the best place as it has a wide range of designs

Central Park – Don’t miss this if you have time. (I couldn’t :/ Saving it for the next time)
I happened to visit Bryant Park, which is a pretty little park that has decent cafes to hang around.

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Brooklyn Bridge

Also, Statue of Liberty was last on my list as it didn’t seem interesting to me except the ride on Hudson river till the island.

Travel Tips :

Internal transport in NY is one of the best in USA. I personally used the metro to travel, with each ride costing around 2.75$. There is bus transport available too.

I would say, NY is beautiful in the night. So, if possible, explore the city in the night rather than mornings

Try veg pizza at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, cup cakes at Melissa Bakery (Being lactose intolerant has knocked me out of the option to try the pizza but do try, if you can). The cupcakes were decent enough, even though not so extraordinary

Go to a one of those famous NY broadway shows. The prices vary depending on the show. Do check the availability and plan in advance.

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From 78th Floor of Empire State Building

I hardly had two days in New York.With rain ruining my plans for one complete day, there is lot that I could not explore. Saving the rest for the next time!

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Vegas or New York 🙂

Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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A Ticket To Amsterdam

Amsterdam!!
It just broke the clichéd opinion that I had about this city before visiting. I knew this place more as a city for stoners and thought it to be over-hyped. To my surprise, it hosts some of the most beautiful canals, bridges, flowers and dutch architecture. The streets were all vibrant and buzzing with people who are moving around on cycles at any hour of the day.

Also known as a city where Cannabis and prostitution are legal, and where you can savour some of the most amazing dutch pancakes, and of course, lots and lots of canals and bridges.

Before I could explain any further about the city, let me just dive into the actual things to do and places to visit in Amsterdam. We spent around 4 days in Amsterdam during mid-October.

Temperature : 15-20 C  (Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at our friend’s place in Amsterdam Amstel which is pretty close to the city centre. Since I had already done my research about good hostels, dropping in some suggestions here : ClinkNOORD, Flying Pig

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Canals of Jordaan

Main Places to Visit:

Rijks Museum – It is one of the best museums that I have seen so far. It showcases the rich heritage of their ancestors and their lifestyle incredibly. If you plan to visit, don’t forget to cover 2nd floor and also, the 1.2 section in 1st floor.

Red Light District – The widely renowned red light district of Amsterdam is a must visit after 11pm when the streets get lit up with red lights.

Zaanse Saanch – It is 40 min metro ride from Amsterdam to this beautiful place which is designed in a way to give you an essence of age-old dutch countryside with windmills!! It takes atleast 3 hrs to explore this place properly. Don’t miss this place if you have enough time.

Anne Frank House – It was the place where Anne Frank was reportedly in hiding for around 2 years during WWII. However, if you are planning to visit this place, ensure that you book your online tickets (no offline tickets available) well in advance (We couldn’t get the tickets :/ )

Vondel Park – If you want to relax in a very silent place filled with beautiful trees, canals, and swans, you must visit this place. It had insane variety of trees sporting different fall colours. It is also a place where public sex is legal!!

Van Gogh Museum – If you are into paintings, you should consider visiting this place. (We couldn’t find time to visit it)

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At Museum Entrance

If you want to go shopping, you can find many shops near Dam Square or for street shopping, you can visit Albert Cuyp Market.

Also, you might want to get clicked before ” I Amsterdam ” Symbol which is just close to Van Gogh/ Rjiks Museum. You are lucky if you get a good picture without the crowd.

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Coffee Shop (Smokeys)
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Adam’s Lookout (Look at the view)
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Amsterdam Canals (Canal Cruise)

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Few Travel Tips :

If you are below 25 yrs, you are most likely to get a discount in entry fees in most of the museums, historical monuments in Europe. Just ask them about it and flash your passport and you get a discount 😀 (I availed many such discounts)

If you are planning to rent a bicycle in Amsterdam, you can visit Mac Bikes . They charge around 10-15 Euros per day. Also, ensure that you carry a mobile holder otherwise it gets difficult to deal with google maps.

If you are planning for shopping, never plan it on Sunday as most of the stores remain closed that day. During regular days, the shops shut by 7-8 pm, so plan your shopping accordingly. Also, street shopping markets shut by 5 pm

Ensure that you have a minimum of 2-3 hrs to explore each museum. If you don’t have enough time, ask for the must-visit spots in the museum at the ticket counter. Also, while planning for museums, check for working days.

Pick pocketing is common in Europe. Be alert (Especially your passports and wallets)

You can get a metro pass for 4 days which costs around 18 Euros. It would be really helpful for internal travel.

If you are into exploring other museums, you can checkout “I Amsterdam” Card which offers many activities at a discounted price of 75 Euros per person. It covers most of the museums. Since I am not into museums, I didn’t take one.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Amsterdam 🙂

Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Exploring Lisbon!!

After a tiresome road journey of 12 hrs from Madrid, Portugal welcomed us with an impeccable view of the sunrise over the huge expanse of Tagus River on Vasco Da Gama Bridge. It just reminds me of how sleep deprived I was and how my eyes couldn’t stay open but that view was too mesmerising that my mind started shouting, ‘You Moron!! Look at the beauty and skip your sleep for sometime!! ‘ 😀

Cobblestone streets that are lined up with pastel coloured houses having balconies that flaunt the most colourful bunch of flowers are just a visual retreat in the older parts of the city. This hilly capital city with coastal beauty has a lot to offer!!

The essence and the actual culture of any city could be best witnessed in the older parts of the city. Go to such place and walk around to experience the best!!

We had 3 days to spend in Lisbon and I am a person who is not so keen on visiting the historical monuments unless it is highly highly recommended. So, if you are expecting that from this blog, then 😐

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LISBON

4 days and 3 nights stay

Accommodation : Hub Lisbon Patio Hostel (The worst maintained among all other hostels I have been to, so please avoid it and search for some other option )

Main Places To Visit :

Alfamas – It’s old Lisbon and it literally takes you back in time with the trams on the road, old buildings, century old cathedrals ,castles and not to forget some old wine shops!! Visit the famous Lisbon cathedral if you visit Alfamas – the interiors are sure to impress you!!

Miradouro das Portas do Sol – This is the one of the best view point to see the entire rooftop view of Alfamas. Must visit!!

Bairro Alto – The streets have such a lovely vibe with Fado (Traditional Portugal music) being played by people and is lined up with some amazing restaurants!! Again, walk to experience 🙂

Cais do sodré – Best riverside neighbourhood to walk around and relax!!

Sintra – This place is on the countryside which is 40 min from Lisbon by train and is totally worth visiting. It has fairytale streets lined with tall and lush-green trees, not something you could see anywhere in Lisbon. Visit Pena Palace in Sintra for the incredible view it offers from the top!!

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Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Alfamas
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Miradouro das Portas do Sol
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Bairro Alto
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Pena Palace, Sintra
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Pena Palace, Sintra

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Things to Do :

A walk in the streets of Alfamas 

Try pizza and portugese red wine in Bairro Alto – totally flattered!!

Watch the sun go down with live jazz in background at Miradouro das Portas do Sol

If you like to just sit and watch the Tagus river, Praça do Comércio and Cais do sodré are the go-to options

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Streets of Alfamas
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Praça do Comércio
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Near Praça do Comércio

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Backpacking Trip To Spain

When it comes to ticking things off my bucket list, I have my head clear and my mind focussed 😀

Do you think anyone would want to have ‘facing a gruesome accident but managing to get out alive’ in their bucket list? Well, I did tick it off my list 😛

Brushing aside such not-so-sane things, I do have some travel goals and Europe was always on the list and I wanted to do one backpackers trip with strangers before I turn 25. And yeah, it’s done now (atleast, a little part of Europe)

Spain and Portugal exploration happened to be my first leg of Europe journey. To all those people who wanted to know about how I have planned the trip, about the backpackers group and about my experience in these two countries- this blog post, the upcoming one and my Instagram posts would answer all your queries. I will be pitching in my suggestions about the places to visit, the places you could skip and also, the precautions you need to take based on my personal experience.

Let’s get started!! 😀

Mumbai > Barcelona > Ibiza > Madrid > Lisbon > Mumbai

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BARCELONA

5 days and 4 nights stay

Accommodation : Generator Hostel

Main Places to Visit:

La Sagrada Familia – Renowned for its captivating Gaudi architecture and magnificence. Book your tickets online and they don’t allow post your time slot (Be on Time).It will be a guided tour provided you make it on time. By the way, it is still being built!! (since a century almost :/ )

Gothic Quarter – Old city of Barcelona. Explore the place on foot. Has a plethora of options for restaurants and clubs. Night life is good here.

La Rambla – You can’t miss this street. It is one of the best to witness the vibe of Barcelona city.

La Barceloneta – Seaside neighbourhood of Barcelona lined up with good restaurants along with a splendid view

Things to Do:

Cycling tour in the city ( they are going to show you some of the best streets in Barca)

Try Sangria and Aperol Spritz if you are into wine and alcohol

Try PaellaTapas, Churros, Croissants  when in Spain (Food)

Camp Nou (didn’t visit as I am not so much into football) and Opium (popular pub) are two things which have good feedback but I couldn’t make it. Try those if you find time.

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Streets of Barcelona 
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L’esquerra de L’eixample
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Gaudi Fountain
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La Sagrada Familia

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IBIZA

2 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Amistat Island Hostel 

Main Places to Visit:

Sant Antoni de Portmany – Town on the west coast of Ibiza (party place). Explore port area for night life.

Dalt Vila – It’s the old town of Ibiza which should be explored on foot. Such amazing fairy tale streets!!

Castell de Eivissa – You might want to visit this place to get a good panoramic view of Ibiza.

Things to Do:

Boat Party – You should not miss on this. A unique experience all together. Costs around 6-8k per person.

Watch the sun go down with wonderful live instrumental music and some wine at/ near Café Mambo in Sant Antoni de Portmany. Have to say, my best sunset so far.

Amnesia is apparently an amazing pub you can visit in Ibiza. We chose to party by the sea-side with some good wine and good company !! (my way of partying 😛 )

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Carretera de Cala Gracio`
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Sunset near Cafe Mambos in Sant Antoni de Portmany
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View from Castell de Eivissa
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Near Playa De Bossa

MADRID

3 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Sun Gate One (best hostel in the entire trip)

Main Places to Visit:

Royal Palace of Madrid – One of the most popular places in Madrid. We didn’t enter inside though!! We were enjoying the view with some good live music 😀

Gran Via – This street is always buzzing and is the best for shopping 🙂

Toledo – It’s on countryside, a 45 min ride from Madrid. You can find many local travel agencies conducting a day trip to Toledo. Historically significant place!! Again, explore this beauty on foot.

Also, Stadio Santiago Bernabeu  if you are interested in football 🙂

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Royal Palace of Madrid
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Streets of Madrid
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Streets of Toledo
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View of Toledo from the highest view point
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Near Gran Via

I didn’t find Madrid interesting though!! It mostly had the busy city vibe with good partying and shopping places. Teatro Kapitol is a must visit pub if you are into partying.

Alert : Pickpocketing is damn prominent in Spain. Be very very careful with your belongings!! You never even notice it, they are too good at it.

Backpackers Group

‘When in City’ is one such travel agency which frequently does backpackers’ trips across the world every year. Well, there are enough pros and cons when dealing with this group. So, weigh those if you are planning to join their trips :/

Pros being that you might end up meeting really cool people like I did. It could be a coincidence too. Of course, more than anything else, people you are with, is important.

Cons being that you are going to overpay for their not-so-good service and their not-so-experienced team. You end up paying a premium compared to other such groups. They have limited knowledge about the best places to explore (atleast in case of Spain and Portugal)- had received misleading guidance at times, and you will also see them become stingy :/ (mostly in case of accommodation)  –  which was so disappointing for many of us. Their packages include only accommodation at hostels, internal flights and a trip guide ( International flights , visa charges not included). Many things in their itinerary require additional payment. So, take note of all those.

So, before you go ahead, decide if you are okay with the cons and then take a call.

Well!! These are some suggestions based on my travel experience. DM me on Instagram for more details. Would always love to help you guys 🙂

Hope this post is helpful for those planning to any of these places!!

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Those who made the trip worth-while 😀

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